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WRIST size may provide an early warning sign of diabetes and heart disease in overweight children, research suggests.

Scientists found a "strong" association between wrist circumference and a major risk factor for both conditions in 477 overweight and obese children with an average age of 10.

The link with insulin resistance was related to the size of the wrist bone, rather than the amount of fatty tissue surrounding it. Insulin resistance occurs when the body cannot use insulin efficiently to break down blood sugar.

It is a marker not only for an increased risk of diabetes in later life, but also heart disease. Raised insulin levels are an indication of developing insulin resistance.

Using a simple tape measure, the Italian scientists found wrist circumference explained 12% of differences in levels of insulin resistance and blood insulin between children. The bigger the wrist, the more likely a child was to show signs of an underlying problem.

A scanning technique showed that the amount of bone in the wrist accounted for 17% of the variation seen.

Prof Raffaella Buzzetti, from Sapienza University in Rome, said: "If our work is confirmed by future studies, wrist circumference could be used to predict insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease risk. One of the major priorities of clinical practice today is the identification of young people at increased risk for insulin resistance."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 18, 2011
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