Type 2 Diabetes – Schools Programs to Help Lower Obesity and Diabetes in Adolescents

Type 2 diabetes has quickly become the biggest epidemic of our time, and it is worldwide. It is no coincidence this goes hand-in-hand with the increase in obesity. According to a report published in February 2017 in the International Journal of Nursing Practice at least one school-based education program shows promise for preventing Type 2 diabetes in adolescents.

Nurses at Al-Zaytoonah University in Amman, Jordan assessed the effectiveness of a 12-week school program to help prevent obesity and the development of Type 2 diabetes in the students. In 2012 students at two unisex high schools, one male and one female enrolled in the study. Two hundred and five students were given an educational intervention while 196 were not. By the end of the study, the intervention group had lost an average of 3.3 kg and lowered their blood sugar levels by an average of 1.36 mg/dL

From the above results, the investigators concluded a school-based preventive educational program for adolescents was useful in actually lowering blood sugar levels and body weight.

There is more good news from Vrije Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the University of Michigan Health System in Michigan, United States. In September of 2016, the American Journal of Health Behavior reported a study of 2315 6th grade students (about 11 years of age) enrolled in Project Healthy Schools…

  • one group received lessons only, and another
  • group received lessons plus physical activity.

The group receiving instruction plus physical activity…

  • improved their fruit intake,
  • drank fewer sugary beverages,
  • had fewer servings of fatty or sugary foods, and
  • physical activity

than the students given lessons only. The investigators concluded school-based health programs with both lessons and physical activities were likely to improve diet and physical activity.

Another encouraging study was reported on in May of 2016 in the Journal of School Health. Workers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands assigned Third-grade children to either a 22-week intervention program or a control group. Third-grade children in the intervention group maintained the same body mass index (BMI), while those in the control group increased their average BMI.

Still, more encouragement comes from the University of Texas and Texas A&M University in the United States. In December 2015, Childhood Obesity, the study which included 44 Third-grade students and their 34 parents. The program consisted of both classroom instruction and vegetable gardening…

  • at the beginning of the study, 67 percent of students were obese or overweight.
  • by the end of the program, the number went down to 55 percent.

The scientists have made changes to improve the program, and a new study was commenced in 2016.