The increasing incidence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) in adolescents in the United States, particularly in the African-American and Latino populations, is most likely a consequence of rising rates of childhood and adolescent obesity combined with an ethnic predisposition to diabetes. The long-term complications of diabetes (kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, blindness) affect minority populations disproportionately. This makes prevention, early detection and early treatment of diabetes important steps toward the goal of decreasing health disparities between racial groups.
Since obesity (and its’ association with development of diabetes) frequently has onset during childhood or adolescence, youth is an optimal period for preventive intervention. Few studies have been made on either incidence of risk factors or success in disease prediction or prevention via early intervention efforts in youth.
Given the awareness of increased rates of obesity in school populations and the potential advantages of instituting an intervention program through school based health centers, Cook County Ambulatory and Community Health Network established a diabetes screening and prevention project through the school based health centers. This program was administered and monitored through the Hektoen Institute. Dr. Nancy Fritz served as Principal Investigator in collaboration with Project Investigators Dr. Chris Stahl, Mary Driscoll B.S.N., M.P.H., and Dr. Kanika Ghai.
The study and its results were presented at the November 2002 American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting, by Shonta Corbin, Project Coordinator.The presentation outlined the collaboration between Cook County Ambulatory and Community Health Network and the school-based health centers to address the increasing incidence of Type 2 diabetes.