What the size of a child’s wrist tells you about their health
As the number of diagnosed cases of diabetes continues to increase, research into how we can better predict, diagnose and treat the condition is becoming ever more critical. The wrist size of overweight children may provide an early indication of the risk of an individual developing diabetes or heart disease in later life, according to new study published in the journal Circulation.
Taking data from a sample of 477 children (average age 10) who were either overweight or obese, researchers at the Sapienza University in Rome found a strong link between the circumference of the wrist bone and insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance refers to a situation where the body is unable to use insulin to efficiently break down blood sugar. Insulin levels that are higher than normal also indicate a likelihood that an individual will develop insulin resistance further down the line.
Prof. Raffaella Buzzetti led an Italian research team that used a combination of technology and basic equipment to perform their tests. To begin with, they used a basic tape measure, and then used a scanning procedure to reveal that the amount of bone in the wrist explained 17% of the variations they found. They also found that 12% of variations in levels of insulin resistance and blood insulin across the sample group tallied with differences in wrist circumference. They concluded that children with larger wrists have a higher chance of suffering from underlying health problems.
So far, no other studies have been carried out to back up these findings, but if and when future research confirms the effectiveness of measuring wrist circumference as means of assessing the health of overweight children, this could ultimately become an important tool for predicting insulin resistance and the possibility of individuals developing cardiovascular disease.
Find out more about diabetes management.