Which obese youth are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes? Latent class analysis and comparison with diabetic youth

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Most obese youth screened for diabetes have normal fasting glucose levels. Identification of youth with increased risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D) is needed within this large population to guide further management.


Retrospective chart review was performed for obese youth, 8–20 yr old, who met American Diabetes Association criteria for screening (OB) or had T2D (D). Measures included body mass index z-score (BMIz) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) by fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and insulin. Statistics compared OB with D and further examined OB by latent class analysis (LCA).


Normal FPG was found in 91.5% of all obese youth (OBt n = 94) Comparison of OB with normal FPG (OBng; n = 86) and D (n = 44) was significant for family history of T2D (p = 0.008) without other associations. Evaluation of OBng by LCA showed three classes with increasing BMIz and HOMA-IR. Class 3 (32.5%; BMIz 2.66 ± 0.38; HOMA-IR 6.72 ± 2.29) differed from classes 1 and 2 (p < 0.05), and was associated with family history of T2D.


Currently recommended screening of obese youth by FPG is normal in 91.5%, but lacks further information to detect increased risk for youth-onset T2D. Evaluation of obese youth by LCA identified one third (class 3) in whom the combination of higher levels of BMIz, HOMA-IR, and family history suggests the greatest risk for T2D and targets them for further evaluation and intensive preventative management.

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