Type 2 diabetes (T2D) in youth is a growing healthcare and public health concern. It is costly, and youth suffer from disabling and deadly comorbid conditions at a faster pace than adult onset. However, T2D is preventable. The population of obese youth at greatest risk for T2D is of minority race/ethnicity and socioeconomically disadvantaged background, which creates barriers to health promoting lifestyles. Despite being the first line of prevention efforts for T2D, efficacious behavioral lifestyle interventions are still lacking at the community level. During the summers of 2016 and 2017, a study integrated obesity and diabetes prevention health education into TeenWorks summer employment program at Indy Urban Acres in Indianapolis, Indiana. Results were analyzed using paired sample t-tests. Participants (N = 168) had a mean age of 15.8 ± 0.7 years, 61% female, 13% Hispanic, 80% Black. By the end of the intervention, physical activity (p = 0.000) and prevention knowledge (p = 0.000) were significantly higher. Dietary intake (p = 0.204), self-efficacy (p = 0.58), food insecurity (p = 0.058) and depression screening scores (p = 0.809) were not significantly different. In light of the continuing childhood obesity epidemic and increasing prevalence of prediabetes and T2D in youth, there is a pressing need to understand and reduce barriers to obesity and diabetes prevention in high-risk populations. This study demonstrated the feasibility of integrating obesity and T2D prevention health education into a teen summer employment program.
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