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Early Advice on Diet Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Youth

WEDNESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary counseling, initiated with the parents at infancy and maintained as the child ages, is associated with improved insulin sensitivity at age 15 to 20, according to a study published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

Olli Oranta, Ph.D., of the University of Turku in Finland, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial known as the Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project (STRIP). The intervention consisted of counseling parents and children about a diet beneficial for cardiovascular health.

The researchers found that, at 15 to 20 years of age, homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was significantly lower (7.5 percent lower on average) in those who received dietary counseling compared to the controls. The effect of the intervention was similar in girls and boys. Other significant changes in the intervention group compared with the control group included a higher ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) plus monounsaturated fat (MUFA)-to-saturated fatty acid (SFA) and a higher intake of dietary fiber. There was no association between the fatty acid ratio (PUFA+MUFA-to-SFA) and HOMA-IR, but dietary fiber intake was linked with HOMA-IR in girls.

"The results show that dietary and cardiometabolic risk factor changes can be introduced in adolescence through intervention," the authors write. "Future studies will determine the long-term effects of STRIP intervention on insulin sensitivity in later adulthood."

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