Study leader Michael I. Goran says the persistence of prediabetes during growth is associated with progression in risk towards future diabetes.
The researchers tracked 128 overweight Hispanic children in East Los Angeles who were tested in four consecutive years for glucose tolerance, body mass index, total body fat and lean mass and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes, found 13 percent of the children had what the investigators termed "persistent prediabetes."
Children were identified as having persistent prediabetes if they had at least three positive tests in four annual visits. The children who had persistent prediabetes had signs of compromised beta-cell function, meaning their bodies were unable to fully compensate to maintain blood glucose at an appropriate level, and they had increasing accumulation of visceral fat or deposition of fat around the organs. Both of these outcomes point towards progression in risk toward type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.