Diabetes Prevalence Up In American Children
May 5, 2014

Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence Up In American Children, Adolescents

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes increased significantly in the US between 2001 and 2009, according to research published in the May 7 children’s health-themed edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

As part of the study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Dana Dabelea of the Colorado School of Public Health and Dr. Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill reviewed data from over three million youngsters from diverse geographic regions of the country.

They looked specifically at whether or not there were any changes among American children and adolescents in overall type 1 and type 2 diabetes prevalence in recent years, as well as if it increased or decreased in terms of age, gender or race/ethnicity. The authors said that data on these conditions has been limited as of late.

“Understanding changes in prevalence according to population subgroups is important to inform clinicians about care that will be needed for the pediatric population living with diabetes and may provide direction for other studies designed to determine the causes of the observed changes,” the authors wrote in the paper.

Data for the studies came from patients at medical facilities in California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington, as well as American Indian reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Researchers affiliated with the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study were also involved in the study.

Among the items reviewed by the research team were cases of type 1 diabetes diagnosed by physicians in children from birth through 19 years of age, as well as type 2 diabetes diagnoses in youngsters between the ages of 10 and 19, between the years of 2001 and 2009.

Type 1 diabetes prevalence among a population of 3.3 million was 1.48 per 1,000 in 2001, and increased to 1.93 per 1,000 among 3.4 million youth in 2009, the investigators reported. After adjustment, those figures indicate that there was an increase of 21 percent of prevalence in the disease over the eight-year period.

The greatest increase was found in youngsters between the ages of 15 and 19. In addition, the authors found that prevalence levels rose in both boys and girls, as well as in white, black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific Islander youth – despite the long-held belief that type 1 diabetes is a disease that primarily affects only Caucasian children.

The overall type 2 diabetes prevalence levels for youngsters between the ages of 10 and 19 increased by an estimated 30.5 percent between 2001 and 2009, the authors said. Those levels rose significantly in both sexes and in all age groups. However, while increases were observed in white, Hispanic and black youth, they were not detected in the patients of Asian Pacific Islander and American Indian heritage.

“The increases in prevalence reported herein are important because such youth with diabetes will enter adulthood with several years of disease duration, difficulty in treatment, an increased risk of early complications, and increased frequency of diabetes during reproductive years, which may further increase diabetes in the next generation,” the researchers wrote. “Further studies are required to determine the causes of these increases.”