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Diabetes Screening age lowered 5 years as Kansas sees higher trends in children, adults

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – As Kansas sees higher trends of children and adults with diabetes and prediabetes, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the age at which residents should begin screening for the disease has been lowered by 5 years.

As diabetes surges in prevalence in U.S. children and adults, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has lowered its recommended screening age for overweight adults from 40 to 35.

According to the KDHE, previous guidelines issued in 2015 recommended the measure for overweight adults aged 40 to 70. The new recommendation comes as data shows the incidence of diabetes increases at age 35 compared with younger ages. It said at-risk individuals should be screened every three years from ages 35 – 70.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 84 million American adults aged 18 and older have prediabetes, which is about one in every three. Of those, it said 90% do not know they have it.

In Kansas, the KDHE said almost 11% of adults aged 18 and older have diabetes according to Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data. In 2018, it said almost 10% of adults aged 18 and older had been diagnosed with prediabetes or borderline diabetes.

The KDHE said overweight and obesity are the main risk factors for both type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. According to the 2019 KS BRFSS, about 35% of Kansas adults are obese and almost 70% are overweight or obese.

As disproportionately high incidences and prevalence of these conditions are seen in specific minority groups, the KDHE said researchers have stressed the importance of screening vulnerable populations and added that heightened risk groups could need to begin screening earlier than age 35.

According to the KDHE, the number of those with diabetes is over 40% higher in the Hispanic and Black communities than among the White community. It said there are strong associations between the number of those with diabetes and social factors like socioeconomic status, education, disability status, as well as food availability and physical environments.

Meredith Slan, diabetes health education at the KDHE, noted that an issue that should be addressed is the low rate of referral to diabetes prevention programs for adults with prediabetes. One key feature of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, she said, is the CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, which focuses on healthy eating and physical activity. She also emphasized the availability of HALTdiabetesKS.com, a free virtual diabetes prevention program platform available through the Department.

Copyright 2021 WIBW. All rights reserved.

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