Diabetes affects an estimated 29.1 million Americans, including around 208,000 youth under age 20. This includes both diagnosed and undiagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes. And unfortunately, these rates appear to be on the rise according to a new study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of youth (ages 0 to 19) newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes increased by around 1.8 percent per year. For type 2 diabetes, this incidence was even higher with an increase of approximately 4.8 percent per year. The study went even further to break down data by five major racial/ethnic groups including non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. The study, known as the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, included 11,244 youth ages 0 to 19 with type 1 diabetes and 2,846 youth ages 10 to 19 with type 2 diabetes.
The study found that for type 1 diabetes, there was a greater increase in diagnoses among Hispanic youth (4.2 percent) than other groups. The rate for non-Hispanic blacks was 2.2 percent, and non-Hispanic whites was 1.2 percent. However, when it came to type 2 diabetes, the greatest increase was seen among Native American youth with a rate of 8.9 percent. (Note: The rate for Native Americans cannot be generalized for all Native American youth nationwide because participation in the study was not representative of all Native American youth in the United States.)
There was also a contrast when it came to gender. While males saw a greater increase in new diagnoses for type 1 diabetes (2.2 percent) versus females (1.4 percent), when it came to type 2 diabetes, females had a higher incidence of diagnoses (6.2 percent) compared to males (3.7 percent).
According to Barbara Linder, M.D., senior advisor for childhood diabetes research at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “These findings lead to many more questions. The differences among racial and ethnic groups and between genders raise many questions. We need to understand why the increase in rates of diabetes development varies so greatly and is so concentrated in specific racial and ethnic groups.”
This study may lead the way to new research opportunities for scientists as they seek to better understand diabetes and more effective ways to diagnose, treat, prevent, and cure this disease. The Diabetes Research Connection supports these efforts by raising funds for emerging scientists who are studying type 1 diabetes. To learn more about current projects and support these efforts, visit http://diabetesresearchconnection.org.