More than a third of middle school kids were found to have abnormal levels of blood sugar or high cholesterol, stated a pilot study of 45 middle school kids. Two had blood sugar levels (HbA1c) in the diabetes range.
"We were shocked with the diabetes screening results," says Robert Siegel, MD, director of the Center for Better Health and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children's. "Most studies show that around 20 percent of kids will have abnormalities, so we weren't too surprised by the results of the lipid screening. Our message is to get screened, eat right, and get out and play."
Dr. Siegel and his colleagues at the Cincinnati Children's Heart Institute screened seventh and eighth grade students at Norwood Middle School in Ohio. Norwood is a city of nearly 20,000 people in southwestern Ohio. The children ranged from 12 to 14 years old. Seventy one percent were white, 16 percent black and 9 percent Hispanic.
Two students had HbA1C levels greater than 6.5, meaning that they had diabetes. Neither had yet experienced symptoms but were referred to a pediatric endocrinologist for evaluation. "More research is needed to understand why or why not parents want their children screened and whether they prefer it be done at a doctor's office or at school," says Dr. Siegel. "With our study, we demonstrate that if the middle school setting is used for cardiovascular screening, if it is feasible to do so, and the yield is high."