Jackson Heart KIDS Study to focus on Obesity and DiabetesBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 25 Jul 2012 04:27pm |
Research shows that Mississippi has an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and cardio vascular disease in children and adolescence. A new pilot program has begun enrolling children for research into possible causes and treatments for these potentially deadly diseases. MPB's Lawayne Childrey has more.
Researchers with the Jackson Heart study have followed the medical progress of patients like London Thompson for years. Through a series of test they have been able to diagnose a number of diseases including Thompson's diabetes.
"And this is one of the diseases that we really, really, really need to try to tract and see if there's a way that we can find a cure for it or a cause so we can eliminate it."
The Jackson Heart Study is the largest of its kind to investigate the inherited genetic factors that affect everything from high blood pressure to heart disease to strokes in African Americans. Now they are enrolling children between the ages of 12 and 19 to participate in a pilot program. One of the first to sign up is Thompson's 12 year old granddaughter, Jeanna.
"I'm hoping to find out if the diseases that my grandmother have has an effect on me. Because if it’s a possibility then I can find out ways I can change my eating habits and my exercising habits so that I won’t get those diseases."
Researchers plan to enroll about 200 African American youths for the yearlong study. Betinna Beech is a professor at Wake Forest University. She is also the co principle investigator of the Jackson Heart KIDS Study.
"We'll be following children. They'll come in, take height, weight, waist circumference and questionnaires. Have them come in again six months later and look at change. This will allow us to get the beginning data. As children grow and change so does their parameters and risk factor for cardio vascular disease.
Beech says the alarming national rate of childhood obesity prompted researchers to focus on the growing problem. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.
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