Children living in poverty have high levels of diabetes risk factors and need early detection and intervention programs, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas A&M University, San Antonio.
A study of 1,402 fourth grade students ages 8-10 years old in Texas aimed to determine the prevalence of high blood glucose, obesity, low fitness and energy insufficiency levels among children from poor families. Nearly 75 percent of the participants lived in households with less than $20,400 annual income. The racial/ethnic backgrounds of the students were 80 percent Mexican-American, 10 percent African-American, 5 percent Asian-American and 5 percent non-Hispanic white.
The study found that 44 percent of the students were energy insufficient, 33 percent were obese and 7 percent had high blood glucose levels. Most of these students had marginal to unacceptable fitness levels and ate high energy-dense and low nutrient-dense foods.
The researchers concluded: "Our results elucidate the high levels of diabetes risk among children from poor South Texas families. Unless we invest in early age interventions and quantify the results, diabetes morbidity and health care cost will remain uncontrolled."
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