Article Text

  1. R. C. Call1
  1. 1University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA.


Purpose of Study Diabetes mellitus is an increasingly important problem in rural America. A government report estimated that one in three children born in the year 2000 would develop type 2 diabetes. It is postulated that early intervention focused on behavioral characteristics may help prevent diabetes. This project focused on developing such a pilot intervention among youth in Rexburg, ID.

Methods A local Cub Scout pack provided an ideal audience for a simple and potentially effective message on diabetes prevention. Approximately 15 kids participated in a 10-minute interactive presentation designed to (1) convey a basic understanding of diabetes, (2) establish the importance of physical activity in preventing type 2 diabetes, (3) promote involvement in physical activities, and (4) encourage parental involvement. Visual aids, including sports equipment, insulin needles, and glucose monitors, were used. A parental handout addressing home-intervention techniques was also provided.

Results The boys easily grasped the message that physical activity can help prevent diabetes. Furthermore, several parents desired additional information. Judging by the parental inquiries, youth enthusiasm, and informal feedback, the presentation's educational objectives were fulfilled.

Conclusion This age group appears highly receptive to encouragement about physical activity. Further studies are required to evaluate similar interventions for behavioral characteristics, including diet and sedentary behavior. In addition, the observed parental interest suggests that a successful adult intervention program could be designed focusing on family prevention.

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