Diagnosing Diabetes with a Tape Measure?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — You’ve no doubt heard about the dangers of belly fat in adults. Extra weight around the waist has been linked to an increase in heart disease, diabetes and stroke.  But until now, there have been few studies to determine if the same weight distribution could point to similar health problems in kids.

Ten-year old India Foster loves dance of all kinds, but her favorite is tap.

“I like how I get to wear the shoes that make all the noise,” India told Ivanhoe.

For mom, Diane, the exercise is a plus.  India’s battle with brain cancer left her with hypothalamic obesity.

Diane told Ivanhoe, “In a short matter of time, she gained 60-65 pounds.”

Diane worries about India’s risk of type 2 diabetes. Even India’s niece may be affected someday.

Angela Fals, a pediatrician at Florida Hospital for Children detailed, “Type 2 diabetes is at a point now where we are actually not expected to see our children have the same life expectancy we did.”

Dr. Fals and researcher Lindy Moore are studying a non-invasive way to accurately predict a child’s diabetes risk.

Dr. Fals said, “It really requires a tape measure, and a very patient child.”

In adults, doctors use waist size as an indicator of health. So-called “apple-shaped” bodies may be at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes than those with “pear shapes” or fat on their hips.

Could the same be said for kids?

In a study of 745 children ages 6 to 17, Dr. Fals and Moore measured waist to hip ratio and compared blood work and found the tape measure method could be an accurate way to also see if kids were at risk.

Exercise Physiology Manager Lindy Moore told Ivanhoe, “We were starting to see this correlation that was following in line with what exists for adults.” (Read Full Interview)

For the Fosters, it’s important to keep a close eye on all of India’s numbers including her waist size.

“Weight loss is our essential goal, but just to keep her healthy. Keep her on the right track,” said Diane.

Researchers say they calculate the waist to hip ratio by dividing the waist measurement in inches into the hip measurement. The goal in adults is to be less than 1.0.  In kids, a measurement of 0.9 or above may mean they are at risk.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Brent Sucher, Editor and Videographer.



TOPIC:            Diagnosing Diabetes with a Tape Measure?

REPORT:       MB #4080


BACKGROUND: Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in children. More than 200,000 people under the age of 20 in the U.S. have diabetes and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are increasing in children and adolescents. Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose. Glucose is the major source of energy needed to fuel the body’s functions. To use glucose, the body needs the insulin. But in people with diabetes, the body either can’t make insulin or the insulin doesn’t work in the body like it should. That is why diabetes is associated with serious complications, such as damage to the cardiovascular system, kidneys, eyes, nerves, blood vessels, skin, gums, and teeth. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when the immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the cells that make insulin and type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas can still make insulin, but the body doesn’t respond to it properly.
(Source: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/ndep/living-with-diabetes/youth-teens/diabetes-children-adolescents/Documents/overview-of-diabetes-children-508_2014.pdf)

RISK FACTORS:  Some risk factors to diabetes include:

  • Having a family member with diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Not being active
  • Weighing 9 pounds or more at birth
  • Being born to a mother who had diabetes during the pregnancy

New management strategies are helping children with diabetes live long and healthy lives. They include being active and eating healthy. Kids need about 60 minutes of activity a day. They don’t have to do it all at once. Kid should also eat foods that are high in fiber and low in salt, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
(Source: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-communication-programs/ndep/living-with-diabetes/youth-teens/children-type-2-diabetes/Pages/publicationdetail.aspx )

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Timely diagnosis and treatment of diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of long-term complications. A new study is helping to predict a child’s type 2 diabetes risk. Researchers are finding a correlation between a child’s waist size and diabetes. By dividing the waist measurement in inches into the hip measurement, doctors can calculate the waist to hip ratio. If a child’s ratio is 0.9 or above, they may be at risk for diabetes.
(Source: Lindy Moore, Florida Hospital)


Florida Hospital Corporate Communications



If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Lindy Moore, M.S.

Read the entire Q&A