More cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are being diagnosed in the United States among younger people under the age of 20, especially among ethnic minorities, new research has found.
Overall there 29.1 million people with diabetes in the US, but the first ever study to look at the incidence of the condition in youngsters up to the age of 20 shows that some 208,000 are aged 19 or under.
‘These studies highlight our concerns about the increasing prevalence of diabetes. Every 23 seconds, another person is diagnosed with diabetes in the United States,’ said Dr. William Cefalu, chief scientific, medical and mission officer for the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
The research, funded by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that from 2002 to 2012 the incidence of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes in youth increased by about 1.8% each year while the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes increased even more quickly at 4.8%.
‘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, epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Across all racial/ethnic groups, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes increased more from 2003 to 2012 in males with a rise of 2.2 % than in females with a rise of 1.4% in the group aged up to 19.
The rate of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes increased most sharply in Hispanic youth, with a 4.2% annual increase. In non-Hispanic blacks, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes increased by 2.2% and in non-Hispanic whites by 1.2% per year.
Among youngsters aged 10 to 19, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes rose most sharply in Native Americans with a rise of 8.9, followed closely by Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders with an increase of 8.5% while the rate for non-Hispanic blacks was up by 6.3%.
In the same age group the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes increased 3.1% among Hispanics while the smallest increase was seen in whites, up 0.6%. The rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes rose much more sharply in females at 6.2% than in males at 3.7%.
‘These findings lead to many more questions,’ said Barbara Linder, senior advisor for childhood diabetes research at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
‘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,’ she explained.
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