On April 12, 2017, the CDC announced the results of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, funded by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study found that from 2002 to 2012, incidence, or the rate of new diagnosed cases, of type 1 diabetes in youth increased by approximately 1.8 percent each year. During the same period, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes increased even more quickly, at 4.8 percent. In the United States, 29.1 million people are living with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, and approximately 208,000 people younger than 20 years are living with diagnosed diabetes.
“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, M.D., Ph.D., epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Type 1 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes in young people, is a condition in which the body fails to make insulin. Causes of type 1 diabetes are still unknown. However, disease development is suspected to follow exposure of genetically predisposed people to an “environmental trigger,” stimulating an immune attack against the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas.
In type 2 diabetes, the body does not make or use insulin well. In the past, type 2 diabetes was extremely rare in youth, but it has become more common in recent years.
The study found that the rate of new diagnosed type 1 diabetes varied by among racial and ethnic groups and between genders. Across all racial/ethnic groups, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes increased more annually between 2003 and 2012 in males (2.2 percent) than in females (1.4 percent) ages 0-19. Among youth ages 0-19, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes increased most sharply in Hispanic youth, a 4.2 percent annual increase. In non-Hispanic blacks, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes increased by 2.2 percent and in non-Hispanic whites by 1.2 percent per year.
The study found that the rate of new diagnosed type 2 diabetes varied among racial and ethnic groups and between genders differently than type 1 diabetes. Among youth ages 10-19, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes rose most sharply in Native Americans (8.9 percent), Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (8.5 percent), and non-Hispanic blacks (6.3 percent). Among youth ages 10-19, the rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes increased 3.1 percent among Hispanics. The smallest increase was seen in whites (0.6 percent). The rate of new diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes rose much more sharply in females (6.2 percent) than in males (3.7 percent) ages 10-19.
“These findings lead to many more questions,” said Barbara Linder, M.D., Ph.D., senior advisor for childhood diabetes research at the 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.”
See the CDC Announcement
See also Medical Law Perspectives, May 2014 Report: Diabetes and Its Complications: Malpractice and Other Liability Issues