A window into type 2 diabetes risk in later life is offered by a child's metabolic measurements, such as blood pressure, body mass index and blood glucose level, say researchers.
"In the past 25 years, the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus have increased concomitantly, and the age at onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus has dropped precipitously, especially in black females," the authors write as background information in the article.
During the study, Dr John A. Morrison, of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, and colleagues analyzed data from two studies.
It showed that individuals were more likely to have diabetes at age 39 years if they had high systolic (top number) blood pressure, a high body mass index, glucose levels of at least 100 milligrams per deciliter, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good" cholesterol) levels and high triglyceride levels in childhood.
"When body mass index, systolic blood pressure and diastolic [bottom number] blood pressure were all lower than the 75th percentile and there was no parental diabetes mellitus, the likelihood of children developing type 2 diabetes mellitus 22 to 30 years later was only 1 percent," the authors said.
The researchers found that childhood high systolic blood pressure, insulin concentration and having a parent with diabetes increased the risk of having diabetes at age 19.
"If childhood body mass index, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure were all lower than the 75th percentile, the likelihood of type 2 diabetes mellitus at age 19 years was 0.2 percent, 0.2 percent if the parents were also free of diabetes mellitus and 0.3 percent if childhood insulin was also less than the 75th percentile," they added.
The study appears in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.