Tape-measure test helping predict diabetes risk in kids

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Researchers are finding that a measure of waist size can help determine if a child is facing a risk of diabetes. (KABC)

A simple tape-measure test is helping pediatricians more accurately determine if a child is at risk for diabetes.

In adults, a measure of waist size and analysis of body type - apple vs. pear-shaped - already helps doctors determine if an overweight person faces a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. Apple-shaped bodies - with fat in the middle rather than carried on the hips - indicates a higher risk.

But now researchers are finding the same indicators can also be used for kids.

In a study of 745 children between ages 6 and 17, researchers measured waist-to-hip ratio and compared blood work. They found the simple tape measure method was an accurate way to look at a child's risk of diabetes.

"We were starting to see this correlation that was following in line with what exists for adults," said researcher Lindy Moore, an exercise physiologist.

That's welcome news to Linda Foster and her daughter India. After a battle with brain cancer left the 10-year-old with a condition that causes weight gain, she put on 60 to 65 pounds in a short time.

Now her mother is very concerned about India's potential to develop type 2 diabetes. She keeps a close eye on all of her daughter's numbers, and now knows that monitoring waist size provides additional information.

"Weight loss is our essential goal, but just to keep her healthy," Diane Foster said. "Keep her on the right track."
Related Topics:
healthhealthy livingdiabetesobesityweightmedical research
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