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28-09-2009 | Diabetes | Article

IFG not uncommon in obese Middle-Eastern children


Free abstract

MedWire News: The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in Iranian children with childhood obesity is low, but around one in 20 show evidence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG), results of a cross-sectional study show.

Iran is experiencing a period of rapid urbanization and modernization, a process that is often associated with a move toward a less physically active population, and one that is less likely to have a healthy diet. The country is consequently facing a rapid growth in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

Obesity is a major risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes but, until now, few data were available on the prevalence of IFG and Type 2 diabetes in the high-risk group of obese Iranian children.

Roya Kelishadi (Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran) and co-workers identified 1109 overweight and obese children from a population of 7554 students in one Iranian city. Of these, 672 were randomly selected for screening.

Fasting plasma glucose was used as the screening test, with IFG diagnosed if levels were between 100 and 125 mg/dl and Type 2 diabetes diagnosed if levels were greater than 125 mg/dl. In children with IFG, an oral glucose tolerance test was performed and insulin levels measured.

Among the 672 overweight and obese children screened, there was only one documented case of Type 2 diabetes, whereas 31 were diagnosed with IFG. The overall prevalence of IFG was 4.61%, affecting 2% of children aged 6 to 10 years and 5% of those aged 10.1 to 19 years. Insulin resistance was detected in six participants with IFG.

The body mass index of obese students was significantly higher in those with IFG (29.9 kg/m2) than in those with normal fasting plasma glucose (27.4 kg/m2), but there was no significant difference in the lipid profile between individuals with and without IFG.

As obesity is an emerging and escalating problem in Middle Eastern countries, the authors suggest that prevention and control of childhood obesity should be considered as a national health priority, and preventive measures should be implemented early in life.

“Dietary change and encouraging physical activity, and regular screening of fasting plasma glucose should be considered in obese children who are prone to Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases,” they conclude in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Jenny Grice

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