Diabetes surging in U.S. youth

The number of children with diabetes- both type 1 and type 2-  has surged in the United States, according to a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

From 2001 to 2017, the number of people under age 20 living with type 1 diabetes increased by 45%, and the number living with type 2 diabetes grew by 95%. 

Type 1 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes among the youth in the United States, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.  It remained more prevalent among white youth than among youth from racial or ethnic minority groups. 

SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study

The greatest increases in type 1 were among children ages 5-9, 10-14 and 15-19 years, in both sexes and for each racial and ethnic group.

Type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar, remained more common among youth in racial or ethnic minority groups than among white youth. Also, the greatest increase in type 2 diabetes was among Black or Hispanic youth and the greatest number of cases were in Black or American Indian youth.

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app!  |  Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

"More research is needed to better understand the underlying causes of the increases we’re seeing in type 1 and type 2 diabetes in U.S. Youth," said Jean M. Lawrence, lead author,   "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."

More than one in ten Americans or 34.2 million have diabetes. 

"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," said Lawrence.

"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," said, Giuseppina Imperatore, MD, PhD, chief of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, Economics, and Statistics Branch in CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.

In 2020, diabetes deaths rose to 24.6 per 100,000 from 21.6 a year earlier. That translated to 13,000 more diabetes deaths than in 2019. The 14% increase was the largest rise in the diabetes death rate in decades.

With the Associated Press