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Validating the Use of Jelly Beans for Easy Screening of Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Diabetes Mellitus in Women of Reproductive Age

1 August 2006


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether replacing the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) with a dose of jelly beans equivalent to 60 grams simple sugars would serve as an adequate type 2 diabetes mellitus and pre-diabetes screening tool in females of reproductive age. METHODS: To compare the within-subject variability in non-pregnant, non-diabetic females between the ages of 18-44, we asked the subjects to consume a dose of jelly beans containing 60 grams of simple sugars within 10-15 minutes. Thirty to fifty minutes later, we checked their capillary blood glucose level. This result was then compared with an official OGTT done on another day. The results were statistically analyzed for their correlation and included the determination of confidence and prediction intervals. RESULTS: Forty women began the study but only twenty-five finished. The correlation coefficient between the jelly bean result and the OGTT was 0.4818 with a p = 0.0127. Only one subject was found to have impaired glucose tolerance and no cases of diabetes were found. For an OGTT result of 140 mg/dL, the jelly bean 95% confidence interval ranged from 157.9- 195.57 mg/dL, with a 95% prediction interval of 130.31- 223.11 mg/dL. Since no cases of OGTT > 200 mg/dL were detected, confidence and prediction intervals were wide at the diabetic range. Correlation coefficients between the jelly bean test and the variables of age, body mass index, and weight (0.3995,0.2770, and 0.2253 respectively) also showed a weak relationship. CONCLUSIONS: There is a weak relationship between the jelly bean test as administered and the OGTT. The jelly bean test does not serve as an adequate diabetes or pre-diabetes screening tool in women of reproductive age and should be abandoned in favor of other methods.


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