Western Diet in Youth May Up Diabetes Risk in Middle-Age

High school eating patterns could thwart health later on

FRIDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Eating like an American while in high school may set the stage for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) later in life, according to research published online Nov. 10 in Diabetes Care.

Vasanti S. Malik, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boson, and colleagues consulted food-frequency questionnaires about dietary patterns in high school completed by 37,038 subjects to evaluate the relationship between diet and the risk of T2DM in mid-life.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that, while a diet rich in healthful foods was not associated with a risk of subsequent T2DM, high school diets following a Western pattern -- that is, high in desserts, processed meats, and refined grains -- were associated with a 29 percent higher risk for T2DM. This risk was attenuated by adjusting for adult weight change.

"Western dietary pattern during adolescence may increase risk of T2DM in later-life, partly through adult weight gain. Preventive measures should be aimed at developing healthy dietary habits that begin in early-life and continue through adulthood," the authors write.

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