Introduction: Family history of type 2 diabetes (T2DM), obesity, acanthosis nigricans, skin tags, hirsutism and/or menstrual irregularities are associated with increased risk for developing T2DM, metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Early identification of adolescents at risk can provide opportunities for timely preventive interventions.

Methods: We created a simple questionnaire (UCD-QUES) which includes 5 sections: 1) Anthropometrics; 2) Signs of insulin resistance (pictures of acanthosis nigricans and skin tags); 3) Family history of DM; 4) Menstrual history; 5) Hirsutism (Figure of an adolescent female marking the areas susceptible to hirsutism). The UCD-QUES for male students included only the first 3 sections. We administered the UCD-QUES to 232 students (163 F, 69 M), attending grades 9-12 in 5 Sacramento, California high schools.

Results: Self-reported ethnic distribution of the students was: 35% Hispanic, 20% Asian, 17% white and 15% black. Weight distribution was: 39% were overweight (26%, BMI: 25-29.9) or obese (13%, BMI>30). Family history indicated: 22% had one or more 1st degree relative, and 51% had at least one 2nd degree relative with DM. Acanthosis nigricans or skin tags were reported by 14%, hirsutism by 15%, and irregular periods by 38%. One out of 8 female adolescents (13%) fulfilled the clinical criteria for PCOS, but only 2 students had ever heard of PCOS.

Conclusion: Adolescents who are at risk for developing DM, metabolic syndrome or PCOS can be identified by high-school-based screening using a simple questionnaire. Further research is required to determine 1) whether focusing preventive efforts to these high-metabolic risk adolescents can increase the success of the interventions while cutting cost, and 2) whether identification of high-risk adolescents can provide multi-generational benefits by creating access to their high-risk families and protecting their offspring.


S. Karakas: None.

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