Research Projects

Learn more about the current research projects of the LEAD Center.

Healthy Start

baby and young child

Principal Investigator: Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD

Researchers Involved: Dana Dabelea, Deborah Glueck, Susan Johnson, Brianna Moore, Brandy Ringham, Katherine Sauder, Allison Shapiro, Mercedes Martinez

About the Study: Through ongoing data collection from pregnant mothers and their babies, who are now 4-6-year-old children, we are studying the metabolic and behavioral factors during pregnancy and early life that contribute to the development of obesity and related health problems.

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Associated Studies

Exploring Perinatal Outcomes among Children (EPOCH)

mother cradling infant

Principal Investigator: Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD

Researchers Involved: Dana Dabelea, Katherine Sauder, Allison Shapiro​, Christy Hockett, Anna Bellatorre, Wei Perng

About the Study:

EPOCH is a longitudinal study of adolescents and their long-term health outcomes related to whether they were exposed to mother’s diabetes during pregnancy. While it is known that a mother with diabetes during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood obesity and diabetes, many other things are not known, including whether infant or childhood feeding changes these outcomes.

Associated Studies & Publications

SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth

two children playing in pond

Principal Investigator: Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator

Researchers Involved: Dana Dabelea, Anna Bellatorre, Tessa Crume, Stephen Daniels, Richard Hamman, Michael Kahn, Joan O’Connell, Katherine Sauder, Lisa Testaverde

About the Study: SEARCH is a national multi-center population-based study aimed at understanding the burden of diabetes and its complications among youth and young adults. In five US centers (including the entire State of Colorado and American Indians in Arizona and New Mexico), new cases of all types of diabetes are identified and registered. Volunteers from this registry have joined a cohort study with long term follow-up to see what predicts the complications of diabetes (eye, nerve, kidney and heart disease) and how patterns of care and behavioral issues affect such persons. Projections of the future burden of diabetes have also been made.

Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS)

DPPOS Study on DPP Randomization Line Chart

Principal Investigator: Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD

Researchers involved: Dana Dabelea, Leigh Perreault

About the Study: The DPPOS is the long-term follow-up of the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) trial that showed that lifestyle changes or the drug metformin effectively delay diabetes in overweight or obese American adults. Follow-up now exceeds fifteen years and the participants are being studied for further diabetes, heart disease, as well as aging related changes, and cancer. Results from the 10 year follow-up showed that lifestyle and metformin continued to delay or prevent diabetes.

Tribal Turning Point (TTP)

tribal turning point logo

Principal Investigators: Katherine Sauder, PhD, Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD

Researchers involved: Katherine Sauder, Dana Dabelea, Jeffrey Powell, William Knowler (NIDDK)

Abstract: TTP is exploring a culturally appropriate behavioral intervention to prevent obesity, increase physical activity, and eventually prevent type 2 diabetes in American Indian youth, the population with the highest rates in the US. A successful pilot study with Eastern Band Cherokee and Navajo youth is being followed up with a larger trial including both Navajo on reservation and American Indians in the Phoenix urban area.

Background: American Indian (AI) youth are at high risk for type 2 diabetes.

Objectives: To partner with Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Navajo Nation to develop a culturally sensitive behavioral intervention for youth (Tribal Turning Point; TTP) and assess feasibility in an 8-month randomized pilot study. Methods: We enrolled 62 overweight/obese AI children (7–10 years) who participated with ≥1 parent/primary caregiver. Intervention participants (n = 29) attended 12 group classes and five individual sessions. Control participants (n = 33) attended three health and safety group sessions. We analyzed group differences for changes in anthropometrics (BMI, BMI z-score, waist circumference), cardiometabolic (insulin, glucose, blood pressure), and behavioral (physical activity and dietary self-efficacy) outcomes.

Results: Study retention was 97%, and intervention group attendance averaged 84%. We observed significant treatment effects (p = 0.02) for BMI and BMI z- score: BMI increased in control (+1.0 kg m2, p < 0.001) but not intervention participants (+0.3 kg m2, p = 0.13); BMI z-score decreased in intervention (-0.17, p = 0.004) but not control participants (0.01, p = 0.82). There were no treatment effects for cardiometabolic or behavioral outcomes.

Conclusions: We demonstrated that behavioral intervention is feasible to deliver and improved obesity measures in AI youth. Future work should evaluate TTP for effectiveness, sustainability, and long-term impact in expanded tribal settings.

Publication: Sauder KA, Dabelea D, Bailey-Callahan R, Kanott Lambert S, Powell J, James R, Percy C, Jenks BF, Testaverde L, Thomas JM, Barber R, Smiley J, Hockett CW, Zhong VW, Letourneau L, Moore K, Delamater AM, Mayer-Davis E: Targeting risk factors for type 2 diabetes in American Indian youth: the Tribal Turning Point pilot study. Pediatr Obes 2017;DOI: 10.1111/ijpo.12223

Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity & Diabetes (LEAD) Center

Colorado School of Public Health

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