October 2007 Clinical Laboratory News: Study Gives Snapshots of Youth Diabetes Rates


October 2007: Volume 33, Number 10

Study Gives Samples of Youth Diabetes Rates

A large study of youth in the U.S. reveals that the incidence of diabetes mellitus in general, and type 1 disease in particular, is highest among non-Hispanic whites, while type 2 diabetes is relatively rare but most common among teens from minority groups.

“Although the evidence of the presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in youth is still developing, it is consistent with the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults and the increasing prevalence of obesity in both adults and children,” the researchers from the SEARCH wrote in their paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2007;297:2716–2721). Led by Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, at University of Colorado Sciences Center in Denver, the population study at 10 centers examined data from 2,435 youth under age 20 with newly diagnosed diabetes during 2002 and 2003. The SEARCH Study is the first to be specifically designed to estimate the national incidence of diabetes according to race, ethnicity, and type of diabetes in this age group, the researchers wrote.

Overall, the estimated incidence of diabetes in children and teens was 24.3 cases per 100,000 person-years. By race, the incidence rate of type 1 diabetes ranged from 16.7 in African Americans to 26.1 in non-Hispanic whites. Children under 10 from all ethnic groups primarily had type 1 diabetes. Among whites, the total incidence of type 1 diabetes generally increased with age, ranging from 18.6 to 24.3 cases per 100,000 person-years in the infant through age 4 groups to 32.9 for the 10–14 age group.

Estimates of type 2 diabetes incidence were highest for older children from minority groups. For the 10–14 age group, those estimates were highest for American Indians, at 25.3 cases per 100,000 person years, followed by African Americans, whites, and Hispanics with 47 and 37 cases per 100,000 person years, respectively. For the 15–19 age group, American Indians had the highest estimated incidence at 49.4 person-years, followed by Asian/Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and Hispanics with 22.7, 19.4, and 17.0 cases per 100,000 person years, respectively.

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