More U.S. children and teens are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, Karen Kaplan reports for the Los Angeles Times' "Science Now."
For the study, researchers analyzed data on children ages 19 and younger who were diagnosed with diabetes at five U.S. clinical centers located in California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington between 2002 and 2012.
The researchers said this is the first study to estimate trends in new diagnoses of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in youth across the five major racial/ethnic groups in the United States:
- Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders;
- Native Americans;
- Non-Hispanic blacks; and
- Non-Hispanic whites.
The researchers noted that the rates for Native American youth cannot be generalized nationwide, as the study participants for that population were not representative of all Native American youth in the United States.
The researchers found that the incidence rates of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes among youth increased significantly over the study period, particularly among children in minority racial and ethnic groups.
The researchers identified a total of 11,245 youths ages 19 and younger with Type 1 diabetes and 2,846 youths ages 10 to 19 with Type 2 diabetes.
Overall, the researchers found incidence rates of Type 1 diabetes increased by 1.4 percent annually between 2002 and 2003 to 2011 and 2012. The researchers found Hispanic youths had a greater annual rate increase Type 1 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
For Type 2 diabetes, the researchers found incidence rates among children and teens ages 10 to 19 rose annually by an average of 4.8 percent after to accounting for differences in age, race, and other factors. According to the study, there were 12.5 cases of Type 2 diabetes per 100,000 youths in 2011 and 2012, up from 9 cases per 100,000 youths annually in 2002 and 2003, meaning an additional 1,500 children and teens were diagnosed annually.
The incidence of Type 2 diabetes rose across all age, sex, and racial or ethnic groups, except among white youth and children in Ohio. However, the researchers found that diabetes rates increased more among Asian American, black, and Hispanic youth than white youth. According to the study, by 2012 there were:
- 46.5 cases of Type 2 diabetes per 100,000 Native American youth;
- 32.6 cases of Type 2 diabetes per 100,000 black youth;
- 18.2 cases of Type 2 diabetes per 100,000 Hispanic youth;
- 12.2 cases of Type 2 diabetes per 100,000 Asian American youth; and
- 3.9 cases of Type 2 diabetes per 100,000 white youth.
The researchers also found that incidence of Type 2 diabetes increased significantly among girls over the study period. In2003, the incidence of Type 2 diabetes among girls was 11 cases per 100,000 individuals, but by 2012, that rate had increased to 16.2 cases per 100,000 girls.
Giuseppina Imperatore, one of the researchers and an epidemiologist in CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, said the findings have implications for the health and costs of care for children and teens affected by Type 2 diabetes.
"Because of the early age of onset and longer diabetes duration, youth are at risk for developing diabetes related complications at a younger age," she said, adding, "This profoundly lessens their quality of life, shortens their life expectancy, and increases health care costs" (Kaplan, "Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/14; Mayer-Davis et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 4/13; NIH release, 4/13).
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