Importance: Of youths diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, many develop microvascular complications by young adulthood.
Objective: To review the evidence on benefits and harms of screening children and adolescents for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
Data sources: PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, and trial registries through May 3, 2021; references; experts; literature surveillance through July 22, 2022.
Study selection: English-language controlled studies evaluating screening or interventions for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes that was screen detected or recently diagnosed.
Data extraction and synthesis: Dual review of abstracts, full-text articles, and study quality; qualitative synthesis of findings.
Main outcomes and measures: Mortality, cardiovascular morbidity, diabetes-related morbidity, development of diabetes, quality of life, and harms.
Results: This review included 8 publications (856 participants; mean age, 14 years [range, 10-17 years]). Of those, 6 were from the Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY) study. No eligible studies directly evaluated the benefits or harms of screening. One randomized clinical trial (RCT) (TODAY; n = 699 adolescents with obesity; mean age, 14 years) comparing metformin, metformin plus rosiglitazone, and metformin plus lifestyle intervention reported that 2 youths with recently diagnosed diabetes developed kidney impairment (0 vs 1 vs 1, respectively; P > .99) and 11 developed diabetic ketoacidosis (5 vs 3 vs 3, respectively; P = .70). One RCT of 75 adolescents (mean age, 13 years) with obesity with prediabetes compared an intensive lifestyle intervention with standard care and reported that no participants in either group developed diabetes, although follow-up was only 6 months. Regarding harms of interventions, 2 RCTs assessing different comparisons enrolled youths with recently diagnosed diabetes. Major hypoglycemic events were reported by less than 1% of participants. Minor hypoglycemic events were more common among youths treated with metformin plus rosiglitazone than among those treated with metformin or metformin plus lifestyle intervention in TODAY (8.2% vs 4.3% vs 3.4%, P = .05). In 1 study, gastrointestinal adverse events were more commonly reported by those taking metformin than by those taking placebo (abdominal pain: 25% vs 12%; nausea/vomiting: 17% vs 10%; P not reported).
Conclusions and relevance: No eligible studies directly evaluated the benefits or harms of screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. For youths with prediabetes or recently diagnosed (not screen-detected) diabetes, the only eligible trials reported few health outcomes and found no difference between groups, although evidence was limited by substantial imprecision and a duration of follow-up likely insufficient to assess health outcomes.