NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 11, 2005

About two million U.S. residents ages 12 to 19 have impaired fasting glucose, or high blood sugar levels after several hours without food, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) is a prediabetic condition linked with obesity and inactivity that increases risk for diabetes and heart disease. The study, conducted by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers, involved 915 teenagers who participated in a 1999-2000 national health survey. The researchers found:

  • Participants had an average blood sugar level of 89.7 -- within the normal range -- and that 7 percent, or one in 14, had IFG.
  • One in six overweight participants had IFG.
  • Participants with IFG were more likely than those with normal blood glucose levels to have high levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides.

David Ludwig, director of the Children's Hospital Boston obesity program, said that IFG "has no symptoms but ... signifies an advanced metabolic problem, which will in most cases progress" to type 2 diabetes. "Intensive lifestyle interventions," such as increased physical activity and improved diet, could help address the issue, the researchers say.

Source: Desmond E. Williams et al., "Prevalence of Impaired Fasting Glucose and Its Relationship With Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in US Adolescents, 1999-2000," Pediatrics, Vol. 116, No. 5, November 2005.

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