Children Fighting Diabetes Risk

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 15, 2004 | Go to article overview

Children Fighting Diabetes Risk


Byline: Frank Petrignani, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

At 10 years old, Savon Boston of Northeast realized that he needed to change his life.

After learning in January that he is at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, the youngster now spends less time on the couch and more time swimming, walking and using the playground in his neighborhood. He's also eating less junk food.

"He would watch a lot of television and not do a lot of exercising," said Theresa Boston, Savon's mother. Now, Savon is encouraging his mom to become more physically active and eat healthier, too.

Savon is among hundreds of D.C. children who are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to results of a screening program conducted between November and May. Researchers found that one in four D.C. children are at high risk of developing the disease in which blood-glucose levels become abnormally high.

About 850 D.C. schoolchildren were screened during the program. Of those screened, 85 percent were black and 15 percent were Hispanic, program officials said. The children were between 10 and 18.

"Nationally, Type 2 diabetes is a new phenomenon in youth, so there are few actual results telling of the alarming increase of the disease in children," said James Copeland, diabetes prevention and control manager for the D.C. Department of Health.

The two-phase program called "Stepping Up to the Plate" is designed to help prevent D.C. children from developing the disease. The program is a joint project of the D.C. public schools, the D.C. Department of Health, CVS Health Connection and Pfizer Health Solutions.

D.C. health officials said they have signed an agreement with city schools and are awaiting funding to help develop what they'll call the D.C. Monumental Steps Program, which will target obesity and diabetes among children.

"We will review the schools' food programs, what exercise activities are involved in school and focus on family education programs on how to prevent obesity and Type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Walter Faggett, acting interim chief medical officer for the D.C. Department of Health."It will be part of a community-wide coalition to attack this disease," he said.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, in which either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Web site. …

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