New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is triggering concerns about increases in youth living with diabetes in the U.S.
The agency says in a report released last month that there is a surge of Type 1 diabetes in white and Black populations, while type 2 diabetes is skyrocketing in Black and Hispanic youth.
From 2001 to 2017, the number of people under age 20 living with type 1 diabetes increased by 45 percent , and the number living with type 2 diabetes grew by 95 percent.
Type 1 diabetes, or juvenile diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 2 diabetes, a preventable condition, typically found in adults, affects the way the body processes blood sugar.
“Increases in diabetes are always troubling – especially in youth. Rising rates of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, which is preventable, has the potential to create a cascade of poor health outcomes,” Dr. Giuseppina Imperatore, chief of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, Economics, and Statistics Branch in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation said.
“Compared to people who develop diabetes in adulthood, youth are more likely to develop diabetes complications at an earlier age and are at higher risk of premature death.”
Additional key findings from the report:
The estimated number of under-19-year-olds with type 1 diabetes increased from 148 per 100,000 in 2001 to 215 per 100,000 in 2017; Type 1 diabetes remains more common among white youth than among youth from racial or ethnic minority groups.
The estimated number of youth aged 10-19 living with type 2 diabetes increased from 34 per 100,000 in 2001 to 67 per 100,000 in 2017; Type 2 diabetes remains more common among youth in racial or ethnic minority groups than among white youth.
The CDC says the greatest increases in type 2 diabetes prevalence was seen in youth who are Black or Hispanic, and the highest number of youth per 1,000 living with type 2 diabetes were seen in youth who are Black or American Indian.
The impact on youth from diverse racial and ethnic groups may also be linked to social determinants of health such as where children live and play, says the agency.
Jean M. Lawrence, director of the Diabetes Epidemiology Program, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the NIH said more research is needed to better understand the underlying causes of the increases in type 1 and type 2 diabetes in U.S. youth.
“Increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes could be caused by rising rates of childhood obesity, in utero exposure to maternal obesity and diabetes, or increased diabetes screenings,” she said.
“The impact of diabetes on youth is concerning as it has the potential to negatively impact these youth as they age and could be an early indicator of the health of future generations.”