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CDC Report: Diabetes on the Rise Among Children, Teens

Study estimates trends in major racial/ethnic groups

Rates of newly diagnosed cases of type-1 and type-2 diabetes (T1D/T2D) are increasing among youth in the United States, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study was the first to estimate trends in newly diagnosed cases of T1D and T2D in youth (those less than 20 years of age) from the five major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S.: non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.

The study, funded by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that from 2002 to 2012, the incidence of newly diagnosed cases of T1D in youth increased by approximately 1.8% each year. During the same period, the rate of newly diagnosed cases of T2D increased by 4.8%. The study included 11,244 youth 0 to 19 years of age with T1D and 2,846 youth 10 to 19 years of age with T2D.

“Because of the early age of onset and longer diabetes duration, youth are at risk for developing diabetes-related complications at a younger age. This profoundly lessens their quality of life, shortens their life expectancy, and increases health care costs,” said Giuseppina Imperatore, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at the CDC.

Key diabetes findings from the report include the following:

  • Across all racial/ethnic groups, the rate of new diagnosed cases of T1D increased more annually from 2003 to 2012 in males (2.2%) than in females (1.4%) 0 to 19 years of age.
  • Among youth aged 0 to 19 years, the rate of new diagnosed cases of T1D increased most sharply among Hispanics, a 4.2% annual increase. In non-Hispanic blacks, the rate of new diagnosed cases of T1D increased by 2.2% and in non-Hispanic whites by 1.2% per year.
  • Among youth 10 to 19 years of age, the rate of new diagnosed cases of T2D rose most sharply among Native Americans (8.9%), Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (8.5%), and non-Hispanic blacks (6.3%). (The Native American youth who participated in the study were not representative of all Native American youth in the U.S.).
  • Among youth aged 10 to 19 years, the rate of new diagnosed cases of T2D increased 3.1% among Hispanics. The smallest increase was seen in whites (0.6%).
  • The rate of new diagnosed cases of T2D rose much more sharply in females (6.2%) than in males (3.7%) among youth 10 to 19 years of age.

T1D is the most common form of diabetes in young people. The causes of the disease are unknown. However, the development of T1D is suspected to follow the exposure of genetically predisposed people to an “environmental trigger,” which stimulates an immune attack against insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.

In the past, T2D was extremely rare in youth, but it has become more common in recent years.

Source: CDC; April 12, 2017.

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