An investigation of dietary and physical activity risk factors for type 2 diabetes among Alberta youth

  • Author / Creator
    Forbes, Laura
  • Due to the increase in type 2 diabetes in the child and adolescent population, examining the lifestyle habits of youth has become important. The purpose of this research was to examine the presence of dietary and physical activity risk factors for type 2 diabetes among youth in Alberta and to evaluate their relationship with insulin sensitivity. Lifestyle habits of Alberta youth with type 2 diabetes (n = 28), and age, sex and BMI matched controls (n = 28) were assessed by a chart review method. Those with diabetes had a higher intake of several nutrients (i.e. protein intake) and were less likely to be physically active. Dietary and physical activity risk factors for diabetes of a large sample of Alberta youth (n = 4981) were also assessed using the Web Survey of Physical Activity and Nutrition (Web-SPAN) and insulin sensitivity was measured in a sub-group (n = 318) using a C-13 glucose breath test. High Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) diets were common among Alberta adolescents and dietary patterns associated with dietary GI and GL were assessed. Dietary and physical activity risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including overweight and obesity, high GI, high GL, low fibre, low magnesium, low vegetable and fruit intake, high fat intake and low physical activity levels, were commonly reported among Alberta teens; with some risk factors, such as low fibre intake and high GI being reported by over half of all participants. Youth reported having an average of 3 diabetes risk factors. Boys reported more risk factors than girls, older students reported more risk factors than younger students and students with a higher BMI reported more risk factors than students with a lower BMI. Age, sex, BMI and dietary GI were associated with Insulin Sensitivity Score as measured by a C-13 glucose breath test. In summary, this research has shown that the dietary and physical activity habits of Alberta adolescents are sub-optimal for type 2 diabetes prevention and the relationship between diabetes risk factors and insulin sensitivity in this group suggests that these behaviours are related to early changes in carbohydrate metabolism.

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  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.