Strategies to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus among School Children: A Systematic Review

Simon Himalowa, Margaret M. Mweshi, Martha Banda, Jose Frantz, Richard Kunda


Introduction: The prevalence and socioeconomic burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and associated co-morbidities are rising worldwide among school children thereby raising a public health concern.

Aim: The aim of the review was to explore global literature concerning the various strategies utilised in prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus among school children and their efficacy.

Methodology: A retrospective search of articles published from 2009 to 2019 was done. The following electronic databases; Cochrane, Embase, ERIC, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, PEDRO, PubMed and Science Direct were individually searched using specifically developed search strategies. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tool and by two independent reviewers.

Results: Eleven studies of sound quality were included. The studies show that primary prevention of type 2 diabetes among school children is cardinal as children will grow up knowing about the disease and its consequences. The prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus requires various combinations of interventional program elements including dietary education/counselling, physical activity, diabetes knowledge, competence building, school, social and community support being considered concurrently. None of the studies identified was done in Africa.

Conclusion: Findings concretise that healthy diets and exercise outcomes coupled with explicit programs are key to type 2 diabetes mellitus prevention among school children.

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