Risk factors for type 2 diabetes in pre-teens of Mexican descent

Pre-teens of Mexican descent seem to be particularly prone to obesity and diabetes. To better care for this population, researchers at the UNT Health Science Center want to know if risk factors for type 2 diabetes in pre-teens of Mexican descent differ between those living in Mexico and those in North Texas.

With that in mind, UNTHSC has teamed up with the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM) to evaluate psychosocial, familial and environmental factors in children aged 10 to 14 who are of Mexican descent. Data gathered from kids in North Texas will be compared with data collected from kids in Toluca, Mexico.

Both the child and parent or guardian must agree to participate in the study, which includes a two-hour evaluation session during which researchers collect blood pressure, height, weight, waist and hip circumference, body mass indices, glucose levels and a lipid profile. Researchers also collect information about family structure, smoking status, body changes, diet and indications of depression, factors which often accompany obesity in adults. A quick neck inspection is used to check for Acanthosis Nigricans, a dark, velvety discoloration of the skin associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

"We hope to identify differences between children of Mexican descent in the U.S. and children in Mexico," explained Kim Fulda, DrPH, Principal Investigator at the Fort Worth location, Associate Director of the Primary Care Research Center, who is working closely with Roxana Valdés-Ramos, DSc, from the UAEM in Toluca.

Evaluations of 150 young people in Mexico have been completed. The team in Fort Worth is finishing up evaluations of young Mexican American volunteers, then the data will be compared.

"We hope to discover any protective differences in either location," explained Dr. Valdés-Ramos. "Perhaps children of Mexican descent in the U.S. have different stressors or diets that protect them or make them more vulnerable to obesity and type 2 diabetes."

The partnership between UAEM and UNTHSC is one of three projects underway between the two health-related institutions, although UAEM has had a relationship with UNT in Denton for 20 years.

"This new relationship with UAEM is exciting and offers both institutions new opportunities for studying different populations, as well as sharing student and faculty learning experiences," said Thomas Yorio, PhD, UNTHSC Provost.

Recent News

7281bfad 8597 4cef 80de B58ea8a26ab5
  • Community
|Jun 10, 2024

North Texas Asthma Summit to improve asthma outcomes for children

Representatives from 10 North Texas organizations will come together Wednesday with one common goal in mind: improving health outcomes for children with poorly controlled asthma. The goal of the North Texas Asthma Summit is to develop community partnerships to help these children who frequently e...
Dobbs Headshot
  • Our People
|Jun 7, 2024

School of Health Professions welcomes three new staff members

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Health Professions is excited to announce three new staff members in the dean’s office. Christa Lo, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, joins SHP as associate dean. In her role, she will assist in overseeing the school’s academic...
Drwhite
  • Our People
|Jun 6, 2024

TCOM Alumnus Dr. Frederick White receives the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service from the AOCR

In recognition of his outstanding leadership, dedication and service, Frederick E. White, DO, FAOCR, a 1977 graduate from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, was selected as the recipient of the American Osteopathic College ...
Hampton 5
  • On Campus
|Jun 5, 2024

Hampton University representatives visit HSC to build partnerships

A delegation of five representatives from Hampton University visited The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s campus on Friday. Hampton University is a private, historically Black university founded in 1868 in Hampton, Virginia. The group included President of Ham...