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Type-2 Diabetes Shows Marked Increase in Pediatric Population

Insurance claims citing type-2 diabetes more than doubled in youth from 2011 to 2015

Private health insurance claim lines with a type-2 diabetes diagnosis more than doubled in the pediatric population (ages 0 to 22 years) from 2011 to 2015. The increase amounted to 109%, according to data from FAIR Health, a nonprofit organization that aims to bring transparency to health care costs and health insurance information.

This finding, reported in the new white paper Obesity and Type-2 Diabetes as Documented in Private Claims Data: Spotlight on This Growing Issue Among the Nation's Youth, runs counter to the common appellation of "adult-onset diabetes" for type-2 diabetes.

Drawing on FAIR Health's database of more than 21 billion privately billed health care claims, the report shows that claim lines with a diagnosis of obesity, a condition that contributes to type-2 diabetes, also increased across the pediatric population from 2011 to 2015. The largest increase among younger patients is 154% in the age group 19 to 22 years.

Except in the case of the middle-school age group (ages 10 to 13 years), claim lines with an obesity diagnosis occurred more often in females during the period 2011–2015 than in males; in that middle-school age group, the diagnosis appeared in claims for both males and females at approximately the same rate. Afterward, beginning in early high school (ages 14 to 16 years), the rate of claim lines with an obesity diagnosis for females exceeded claim lines that included an obesity diagnosis for males through college age (ages 19 to 22 years), at which point the gender distribution became the same as in adults more than 22 years old: 72% female to 28% male. By contrast, claim lines with a type-2 diabetes diagnosis were more common for males than females in most pediatric age groups.

During the period 2011–2015, other conditions associated with obesity also increased in claim lines among young people. The conditions included obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension, both of which were more common in claim lines for males than females.

In the report, FAIR Health also compared the percentage of claim lines for pediatric type-2 diabetes diagnoses to the percentage of claim lines for all pediatric medical claims by state. Using that standard, pediatric type-2 diabetes was most prevalent in the period 2011–2015 in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Utah, and South Dakota. It was least prevalent in New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.

Sources: FAIR Health; January 13, 2017; White Paper (download); January 2017.

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