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Lifecourse of Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes Center

Our participants are the most important people in the world!

From infants and their parents, to preschoolers, mid-late childhood youth, adolescents, young adults, and older adults, there are almost 9,000 families, youth, and spouse/significant others who have or are participating in LEAD Center studies!

Why do people choose to be part of these studies? Reasons vary – but some wish more information about a condition they have, some want to learn how to lead healthier lives, but almost all want to help the next generation or beyond in their family and their community with research that can lead to understanding how to live the healthiest lives that are possible.

To all our participants and their families – THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for your continued support!


Healthy Start

"[The] reason I agreed to being part of the study is so that other children may be helped by what [is] learned through the studies that are done. Every child deserves a healthy start in life." - Healthy Start Mom

"Beautiful group of concerned people that worked with my schedule and I felt privileged to be part of the study!" - Healthy Start mom

Read our Healthy Start newsletters

Any comments, compliments, or concerns you’d like to share? We would love to talk to you!

Phone: 303.724.4871




Visit the Healthy Start website:​


(Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes)

This is a national collaborative project to harmonize 84 separate cohort studies of mothers and children in the United States (including Healthy Start) to increase greatly the ability to detect environmental influences on childhood health outcomes.

Environmental factors that will be studied include chemical and metals exposures, air pollution, pregnancy habits (diet, activity, medications), feeding habits after birth (breast, bottle, sold food introduction), the built environment (parks, traffic, safety), mental health issues and other social factors, among many others.

Participants in the on-going Healthy Start study will be asked if they wish to become part of the ECHO collaboration, allowing the chance to share information with over 80 other such studies, to leverage the amount and quality of all data to find the next generation of answers.  


Visit the ECHO website:

Visit the NIH ECHO website:

​SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth

The SEARCH Study has two major parts: 1) the Registry, 2) the Cohort Study.

The Registry study connects with youth in five geographic areas, including the entire state of Colorado, as well as American Indian youth on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico; the entire state of South Carolina; counties around and including Cincinnati, Ohio and Seattle Washington; and members of the Kaiser Permanente of Southern California Health Plan. The goal is to understand the burden of diabetes that occurs from birth to age 19 years.

The Cohort study is following youth with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes from near the time they were diagnosed for up to 10 years, and still counting. Over 2,000 youth from the five registry sites (almost 600 in Colorado) are being followed to see if any diabetes complications are occurring as they age. Important tests for eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy), nerve system disease (neuropathy), and cardiovascular risk factors (blood lipids, blood pressure, heart rate variation, and blood vessel stiffness) are performed.



The incidence (new cases) of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes has increased over the past 10 years - type 1 diabetes has had an average increase  of 1.4%, and type 2 diabetes has had an average increase of 7.1%. (Incidence Trends of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes among Youths, 2002–2012. New England Journal of Medicine. 2017;376(15):1419–1429.)​

Along with incidence, prevalence (existing cases) has also increased. (Prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Among Children and Adolescents From 2001 to 2009. JAMA. 2014;311(17):1778–1786.)​


The study has been examining adolescents and young adults over time to learn what the burden of complications is by type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We have found that early complications of the eye, kidney, nerves, and arteries is already found after only eight years in some youth, and the burden is higher among those with type 2 diabetes than in type 1 youth, and is also higher in minority youth. (Association of type 1 diabetes vs type 2 diabetes diagnosed during childhood and adolescence with complications during teenage years and young adulthood. JAMA. 2017;317(8):825-835.)​

  This figure shows the main results – dark blue bars are type 2, light blue bars are type 1. The height of the bars is the percent of youth with the condition. “All’ is all race/ethnic groups combined, ‘NHW’ is non-Hispanic white and ‘other’ is all other race/ethnic groups combined.

Visit the National SEARCH Website:


Diabetes Prevention Program / Outcomes Study

"DPP and all it has to offer – education, events, health screenings, eye photos, etc. – mean the world to me. All my counselors have been great, and I consider them friends" DPP participant

The Diabetes Prevention Program was a landmark clinical prevention trial in 27 sites in the US. Due to success, it ended early in 2001 and showed that lifestyle changes (weight loss and great physical activity) could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%! The drug metformin also reduced risk by 31% over 3 years. The DPPOS (DPP Outcomes Study) is following the vast majority of DPP participants for up to 20 years, now for continued prevention of diabetes, as well as complications of diabetes, and is asking the question of whether taking metformin lowers the risk of cancer.

The 10-year follow-up of the DPP shows that both lifestyle (solid purple line) and metformin (solid red line) continue to have lower diabetes new cases than placebo (dashed blue line)!


Visit the DPPOS website:

​View the NIH DPPOS website:


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