The prevalence, risk factors, and screening measure for prediabetes and diabetes among Emirati overweight/obese children and adolescents

Elham Al Amiri, Mona Abdullatif, Abdishakur Abdulle, Nibal Al Bitar, Elham Zaki Afandi, Monira Parish, Gassan Darwiche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes (T2D) among overweight/obese children and adolescents using different diagnostic/screening methods in comparison. Methods: We recruited overweight/obese Emirati students; grade 6-12 (age 11-17 years) from 16 government schools in Sharjah (UAE). Anthropometric, demographic, and clinical history data was measured by standard methods. Body mass index (BMI) was categorized according to BMI percentile charts for age and sex - CDC. Capillary fasting blood glucose (FBG) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) were measured by finger prick test, followed by confirmatory oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) and venous HbA1c for students with abnormal capillary FBG and/or HbA1c. Results: Of a total of 1034 participants (45 % females) median age 14.7 years, 443 (43 %) students had abnormal screening results. The prevalence of prediabetes and T2D was 5.4 % and 0.87 %, respectively, based on OGTT (gold standard). HbA1c showed a considerable discrepancy regarding the prevalence of prediabetes (21.9 %), but not diabetes. There was a statistically significant difference in the BMI Z-scores between the three different groups of students showing normal glycemic testing, prediabetes and T2D (p = 0.041). Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that glycemic status was significantly associated with family history of T2D first-degree relatives [OR 1.87: 95 % CI: 1.04-3.36; P = 0.036], parents employment [OR 1.79: 95 % CI: 1.06-3.02; P = 0.029] and levels of triglycerides [OR 2.28: 95 % CI: 1.11-4.68; P = 0.024]. Conclusions: The prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes was high among overweight/obese Emirati children and adolescents. The numbers for prediabetes were considerably higher when using HbA1c as compared to OGTT. Overall adiposity, family history of T2D, employment and high levels of triglycerides were risk factors associated with abnormal glycemic testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1298
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 24 2015


  • Adolescence
  • Children
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Obese
  • Overweight
  • Prediabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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