A simple 3-item screener for age, body mass index (BMI), and family history appears to accurately identify patients at risk for type 2 diabetes. Further, the new tool may have advantages over more established ones that use variables, according to a recent abstract in Obesity.

Researchers at the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center in Kentucky found that individuals who are 55 or older, are obese (BMI greater than 30), and have a family history of diabetes can be considered high-risk for diabetes over the next 5 years.

In order to determine if just three variables could determine risk, researchers turned to the SHIELD study, a 5-year population-based survey of over 22,000 adults.  There were 290 high-risk individuals who were 55 or older, were obese, and had a family history of diabetes; 408 individuals were low-risk, being younger than 55, with a BMI less than 25, and no family history of diabetes. Through 5 years of follow-up, 19.9% of the high-risk individuals reported developing type 2 diabetes, compared with only 0.3% of the low-risk individuals.

One of the benefits, according to the researchers, is that the simplified tool emphasizes to patients that weight loss can significantly reduce their risk of the serious disease.

The evidence is still preliminary and the researchers recommended the three-item tool be compared to the full ADA algorithm, and among a more diverse patient population.

Physicians Weekly wants to know…

  • Will simplifying the diabetes risk assessment tool encourage physicians to use it more often?