Type 2 diabetes and obesity in children continue to increase at alarming rates with
devastating results. However, both these metabolic diseases are largely preventable through
adoption of a healthy lifestyle, an understanding of what happens to food in the body,
energy balance and some simple aspects of glucose regulation. Can elementary school children
be taught the knowledge and skills necessary to prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity?
Children need to learn this essential knowledge and practice these important health behavior
skills. Elementary school may be an ideal place to master this subject that is a direct and
logical extension of current health curricula including nutrition and physical activity
blended with science and math.
Biomedical scientists lead a classroom series of interactive, inquiry-based science and
health explorations directed at type 2 diabetes, obesity and their prevention in three
elementary schools serving children at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes knowledge was
measured in children and parents at the beginning, end and 9 months after the end of the
intervention using validated questionnaires.
- Elementary school child in selected intervention or comparison classes/schools