HEALTH

Study: Low vitamin D levels associated with risk factor for diabetes

BY Michael Johnsen

CHEVY CHASE, Md. — A recent study of obese and nonobese children found that low vitamin D levels are significantly more prevalent in obese children and are associated with risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. This study was accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

High rates of vitamin D deficiency have been found in obese populations and past studies have linked low vitamin D levels to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. The mechanisms by which obesity and its co-morbidities are related to vitamin D deficiency are not fully known. This new study examined associations between vitamin D levels and dietary habits in obese children, and tested whether there were correlations between vitamin D levels and markers of abnormal glucose metabolism and blood pressure.

“Our study found that obese children with lower vitamin D levels had higher degrees of insulin resistance,” stated Micah Olson of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and lead author of the study. “Although our study cannot prove causation, it does suggest that low vitamin D levels may play a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes.”

In this study, researchers measured vitamin D levels, blood sugar levels, serum insulin, BMI and blood pressure in 411 obese subjects and 87 control nonoverweight subjects. Study participants also were asked to provide dietary information, including daily intake of soda, juice and milk; average daily fruit and vegetable intake; and whether or not they routinely skipped breakfast.



“Poor dietary habits, such as skipping breakfast and increased soda and juice intake, were associated with the lower vitamin D levels seen in obese children,” Olson said. “Future studies are needed to determine the clinical significance of lower vitamin D levels in obese children, the amount and duration of treatment necessary to replenish vitamin D levels in these children and whether treatment with vitamin D can improve primary clinical endpoints such as insulin resistance.”

Other researchers working on the study included Naim Maalouf, Jon Oden, Perrin White and Michele Hutchison of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The article, “Vitamin D Deficiency in Obese Children and Its Relationship to Glucose Homeostasis,” will appear in the January 2012 issue of JCEM.

 


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HDMA announces recipient of Rx Safety and Healthcare Leadership Award

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Healthcare Distribution Management Association on Tuesday honored Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., with its Rx Safety and Healthcare Leadership Award. The award recognizes public officials for their leadership and commitment to public policies that support and promote the safe and efficient delivery of medicines.

“Sen. Roberts understands and recognizes the need to ensure the continued safety and efficiency of our nation’s healthcare supply chain — and the important role HDMA distributors play in it,” stated HDMA president and CEO John Gray.

HDMA noted that Roberts, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Finance, is a longtime advocate of policies that enhance the safety and efficiency of the healthcare supply chain, particularly in the area of prescription drug reimbursement. Along with Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Roberts is a primary sponsor of bipartisan legislation — S. 733 — to correct the treatment of prompt pay discounts under the Medicare Part B Average Sales Price reimbursement metric for prescription drugs and biologics. The legislation would enhance patient access to these medications and increase supply chain efficiencies that distributors provide to the healthcare system when serving physicians who participate in the Part B program.

The most recent Rx Safety and Healthcare Leadership Award honoree was Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, who is a co-sponsor of the companion House legislation to Roberts’ bill, H.R. 905.

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Medical community decries decision to maintain status quo of emergency contraceptive

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — A group of medical associations on Wednesday denounced the government’s decision to maintain the status quo with regard to the prescription status of the emergency contraceptive Plan B.

“As advocates for the health and well-being of all young people, the [American Academy of Pediatrics] recommends that adolescents postpone sexual activity until they are fully ready for the emotional, physical and financial consequences of sex,” stated Robert Block, AAP president. “However, as physicians who care for our nation’s children, it is our responsibility to protect the health of our teenage patients, and an unintended pregnancy can have significant implications for adolescents’ physical and emotional health.”

Plan B has long been an industry hot button, even before Barr Pharmaceuticals’ subsidiary Duramed first started shipping the first and only dual-status nonprescription/prescription drug in November 2006. Plan B was to be sold from behind the pharmacy counter without a prescription to women 18 and older; and dispensed to women younger than 18 so long as they had a valid prescription. Before gaining that dual status, Plan B was a de facto behind-the-counter medicine in nine states, where pharmacists were allowed to dispense a Plan B course without a prescription under certain circumstances.

Former FDA commissioner Lester Crawford was the commissioner who delayed the FDA decision to approve the prescription-to-OTC switch of Plan B — based on a reluctance to create a dual status class of medicines, according to Crawford. Crawford resigned abruptly in 2005 (for reasons unrelated to Plan B), and the Congressional approval of his proposed successor, Andrew von Eschenbach, was delayed until FDA in essence promised to approve the switch application for the emergency contraceptive.

The medicine was controversial even among pharmacists, many of whom were implored by their peers to practice a refuse-and-refer policy, whereby a pharmacist who was not comfortable adjudicating a Plan B request would be able to refuse the prescription and refer that prescription to a pharmacist who would fill it, even if that meant sending the patient to another pharmacy.

The group of medical associations on Wednesday was particularly concerned that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services overruled what would have been an approved sale of Plan B with no prescription restrictions by the Food and Drug Administration. “The decision to continue restricting access to this safe and effective product is medically inexplicable,” Block said. “The AAP strongly encourages the use of contraception — including [emergency contraception] by adolescents who choose sexual activity, and recommends that teens receive appropriate counseling on EC use by a pediatrician or other primary care physician.”

The group of medical associations included the AAP, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine. The AAP and SAHM recommend that adolescents be counseled on emergency contraception in the context of a discussion on sexual safety and family planning, regardless of current intentions for sexual behavior. All contraceptive counseling for adolescents should include information on the use and availability of emergency contraception wherever these visits occur, including emergency departments, clinics and hospitals, the associations added.

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H.ZANDIO says:
Dec-12-2011 12:53 am

A lot of young people are involved in premarital sex. At this age, they are not yet ready financially and emotionally. Most of them use contraceptives to avoid pregnancy. The morning after product is accessible without a prescription. However, the pill is only accessible behind a pharmacy counter, with ID. Regardless of an FDA advice that the drug be moved from behind the pharmacy counter and be more widely accessible, it will still be purely limited. These restrictions may make it more difficult to get then before. http://www.newsytype.com/13889-plan-b/

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