Aim: To assess potential for effectiveness, in a non-randomized pilot study, of a community-based lifestyle intervention program to reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus in overweight African American (AA) children.
Research design: Sample of 165 9-11 year-old AA children with body mass index (BMI) >85th percentile were recruited from local recreational sites, schools and churches. Participants self-selected to attend one of two study sites, blinded to the specifics of the intervention administered at each site. The intervention group received a programmatically focused 2-week summer camp with once-a-week community-based exercise, nutrition, and behavioral modification sessions, and their families were invited to monthly nutrition educational sessions. Control group participants received a 2-week conventional YMCA summer camp and their families received nutrition and physical activity education material through the mail. Baseline assessment and 1-year follow-up were conducted in collaboration with the YMCA of the East Bay and Children's Hospital Oakland, CA, with 109 participants (66%) having pre/post data.
Results: After one-year of intervention, treatment boys showed a drop in homeostasis model assessment of insulin-resistance (HOMA-IR) (-0.58 vs +0.17; p = 0.003), fasting glucose (Gf, mg/dL) (mean change: -2.9 vs +0.4; p = 0.126) and fasting insulin (If, microU/mL) (-2.2 vs +0.7; p = 0.009) compared to control boys, after accounting for baseline differences and pubertal stage of the child. Treatment girls had similar changes to the control girls in HOMA-IR (-0.02 vs -0.17; p = 0.66), Gr (-0.3 vs +1.4; p = 0.29) and If (+0.03 vs +0.17; p = 0.57).
Conclusion: After one year, this community-based intervention program effectively improved insulin resistance and thus reduced risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus in overweight AA boys but did not change the risk in girls compared to control children.