Thursday, August 17, 2006 (Reuters Health)—Children and adolescents with diabetes commonly have additional risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a report in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

“This research emphasizes the importance of prevention, recognition, treatment and control of these risk factors,” Dr. Beatriz L. Rodriguez from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, told Reuters Health. “The prevalence of CVD risk factors was higher among ethnic minorities.”

Dr. Rodriguez and colleagues in The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study investigated the prevalence of CVD risk factors in a multiracial population-based sample of over 2000 children and adolescents with diabetes. CVD risk factors specifically assessed were related to the metabolic syndrome cluster -- cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and waist circumference.

One-fifth of the subjects with diabetes for at least one year had at least two additional CVD risk factors, the authors report, including 23% of girls and 19% of boys. More than 90% of those with type 2 diabetes had at least two other CVD risk factors, the results indicate, compared with 14% of participants with type 1A diabetes.

This compares with a prevalence of at least two CVD risk factors of 6.4% for adolescents aged 12-19 years in the general population, the investigators say.

All racial/ethnic minority groups had a higher prevalence of at least two CVD risk factors than did non-Hispanic whites, the researchers note, with Native Americans having the highest prevalence, followed by Asian/Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and African Americans.

Age-appropriate control of weight, lipids and blood pressure is needed in youths with diabetes, the team concludes, “to prevent or delay the development of CVD as these youngsters mature.”

“Underlying causes of the metabolic syndrome such as obesity and physical inactivity, should be addressed,” Dr. Rodriguez added.