A study shows children aged three to six with elevated fasting insulin levels could be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes as adults.
The study, published online in Pediatrics, was conducted at the Centre for Hormone Research, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Victoria, Australia.
Matthew A. Sabi, MD, PhD and colleagues examined data on 2478 children between three to 18 years of age. The children had previously enrolled in a follow-up study, based in their population, on cardiovascular risk factors.
The children were followed either through 2001, 2007 or 2011 to assess potential diabetes. The mean follow-up time was 29.1 years, with type 2 diabetes developing in a total of 84 individuals.
Fasting insulin levels
Fasting insulin levels between the ages of three and six was found to be a significant in those who developed type 2 diabetes as an adult.
This was after adjusting for factors such as age, BMI and parental history. However, researchers did not discover the same association for children over this age and for adolescents.
A notable association was also found between BMI in children aged nine to 18 and adult diabetes, while obesity in the population was 1.5 per cent at aged three to six, and 4.3 per cent at age nine to 18.
“Taken together, these data suggest that caution is warranted in interpreting elevated fasting insulin levels in older childhood and adolescence as an indicator of risk for the development of later T2DM,” the researchers wrote.
“The high prevalence of childhood obesity, alongside its recognized links with insulin resistance and T2DM, has led to increased awareness that fasting insulin levels may be a useful indicator of long-term risk for T2DM, even among non-obese youth.”

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