A new study by the UNT Health Science Center in North Texas has associated societal and familial factors in the United States to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in Mexican American children. The study investigated the impact of adaptation and assimilation into American Culture. It is expected that adolescent type 2 diabetes rates will increase by 49% in children. Fifty percent of new cases are expected to be Hispanic.
The research participants consisted of 144 North Texas children between the ages of 10-14 and the researchers measured their glucose, blood pressure, body size and proportions and examined the children for a skin condition (called acanthosis nigricans) that occurs in people who are at risk for obesity related diabetes.
The study finding revealed that as children adopt to a more “Anglo” culture their risk of type 2 diabetes increased by approximately 43 percent. The researchers focused on the adaptation of American Cutlure and measured language skills, whether they spoke English, watched English TV shows and movies, had non-Hispanic white friends and preferred reading, writing in English.
“Child obesity and Type 2 diabetes is a serious and growing health epidemic, especially among the Hispanic population,” said Dr. Fulda, the lead study researcher. “The results of this study show how important it is for us to explore the factors that are causing this disparity and find ways to promote good health among children.”
The researchers suggest exploring life style factors associated with living in the United States such as fast-food consumption, sedentary behavior, fruit and vegetable consumption, socioeconomic status, parental education and parental acculturation.