Waist circumference may predict children who are at risk for type 2 diabetes later in life

In their ongoing search for controllable risk factors that may lead to type 2 diabetes, researchers from the University of Georgia have found that a larger waist circumference may increase an child's chances of developing the condition later in life.

Their findings, which were published in the journal Obesity, indicate that children who are in the top quartile of waist circumference for their age are five to six times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome as adults than children with smaller waists.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions which increase an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

"We wanted to identify which clinical measure of childhood body composition best predicts long-term cardio-metabolic health risks," said study lead author Michael Schmidt. "We were able to compare a wide range of body composition measures and found that waist circumference seems to be the best measure to predict subsequent risk."

He added that the findings could help doctors identify children who are most at risk for complications later in life, and allow them to suggest lifestyle changes that may improve patients' health.
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