Type 2 diabetes used to be considered an adult disease, but now more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Research has shown girls are affected more than boys. Now, a new study shows sex-linked genes may explain this difference between girls and boys being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers in the United Kingdom are conducting a study which aims to establish which children are insulin-resistant and why. The study included 307 healthy children 4 or 5 years old who will be followed until they are 16 years old. Researchers are keeping track of each child's height, weight, physical activity, resting energy expenditure, and insulin resistance.
Researchers have found, at 5 years old, insulin resistance was 35-percent higher in girls than in boys. The study also shows girls had 26-percent more fat despite similar body weights. However, after adjusting height and weight variables and physical activity, girls remain 33-percent more insulin-resistant than boys. Researchers also found triglycerides were significantly higher in girls and good cholesterol was lower in girls than in boys.
Investigators say this study shows evidence that prepubertal girls are intrinsically more insulin-resistant than boys. Researchers suggest sex-linked genes may explain this difference but the nature of these genes remains unclear.