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Risk score predicts development of type 2 diabetes


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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors from Germany have developed and validated a risk score that accurately predicts the development of type 2 diabetes based on diet, lifestyle and body measurements.

According to the team's report in the medical journal Diabetes Care, the "German Diabetes Risk Score" can accurately identify adults with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes or those who are at high risk for the condition without the use of invasive tests.

The researchers assessed data for 9729 men and 15,438 women enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Potsdam study to develop the risk score, and confirmed its accuracy based on data from three other studies: EPIC-Heidelberg, the Tubingen Family Study for Type 2 Diabetes, and the Metabolic Syndrome Berlin Potsdam study.

Risk points were allocated for "established risk factors" for type 2 diabetes, including age, waist circumference, height, history of high blood pressure, physical activity, smoking, and consumption of red meat, whole-grain bread, coffee and alcohol. Individual scores ranged from 118 to 983, with an average score of 446.

According to Dr. Matthias B. Schulze from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke in Nuthetal and colleagues, the probability of developing diabetes within 5 years among participants in the EPIC-Potsdam study increased from 0.3 percent for a person with 300 risk points to 23.2 percent for someone with 750 risk points.

The German Diabetes Risk Score performed as well or better than previously published risk scores, which rely on more invasive measurements, such as insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion, according to the team.

"Importantly," Schulze and colleagues write, "most factors are dietary and lifestyle factors, suggesting that their change substantially reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes."

For those interested in taking the test, the German Diabetes Risk Score is available as an interactive Web tool at the Web site of the German Institute of Human Nutrition (http://www.dife.de/en/index.php).

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, March 2007.

© 2007 Reuters Health.

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