New guidelines: Is your child at risk of diabetes?
AT-RISK children should be screened more regularly for type-2 diabetes, according to new Australasian first guidelines experts say would help prevent rates of the disease in Queensland.
The guidelines, developed by doctors, recommend targeted screening of all children 10 years or older, or when they hit puberty and those who are overweight or obese and who have one or more additional risk factors.
The move has been welcomed by Diabetes Queensland, which says the earliest possible intervention is key because one-third of children and teenagers with type-2 diabetes are asymptomatic.
The Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group's guidelines have been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
They say maternal history, race and ethnicity, and insulin resistance put children at higher risk of type-2 diabetes.
GPs are advised to screen at-risk non-indigenous children and teens every two to three years or earlier if they are putting on excessive weight.
At-risk Indigenous children and teens should be screened yearly or every six months if they have prediabetes.
The guidelines also suggested a tighter HbA1c target which shows blood sugar levels at or under 6.5 per cent, compared with international guidelines that put the cut-off at seven per cent.
Children can progress to needing insulin faster than adults. Diabetes Queensland chief executive Sturt Eastwood said the guidelines would allow for consistent diagnosis and ensure data reliability.
"If we don't know the true nature of a problem we can't do anything about it," he said.
"We support all early intervention, diagnosis and prevention. It's the most effective way to control type-2 diabetes." Mr Eastwood said screening needed to be culturally sensitive and in consultation with the family unit so that it did not increase shame or anxiety.
"One in four children in Queensland are overweight or obese, and this is too high," he said. "Kids need to eat fresh, healthy food and be active.
"It's easy to say but parents know it's not always that easy to do. Little changes can become habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle."
Originally published as New guidelines: Is your child at risk of diabetes?