Study finds significant increase in type 1 diabetes rates among non-Hispanic white youth

October 23, 2014

PASADENA, Calif., October 23, 2014 -- The rate of non-Hispanic white youth diagnosed with type 1 diabetes increased significantly from 2002 to 2009 in all but the youngest age group of children, according to a new study published today in the journal Diabetes.

The study included data from more than 2 million children and adolescents living in diverse geographic regions of the United States. Within this population, researchers identified 5,842 non-Hispanic white youth, 19 years old and younger, newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over the 8-year study period. They found that from 2002 to 2009, the rate of type 1 diabetes rose from 24.4 per 100,000 youth in the first year of the study to 27.4 per 100,000 youth in the last year of the study. The study is based on the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth registry, one of the largest and most contemporary studies of diabetes in U.S. youth.

"Type 1 diabetes is the predominant form of diabetes diagnosed in childhood. The incidence has been rising in many other countries, particularly in Europe, but data from large populations in the U.S. were limited," said study lead author Jean M. Lawrence, ScD, MPH, MSSA, of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. "This project provides a much larger and more geographically diverse sample than previous studies in the U.S."

The study also showed that the increases were most pronounced among children aged 5 to 9, with smaller increases among those 10 to 14 years old and 15 to 19 years old, but there was no increase in incidence among children 4 years old and younger. In addition, the rate of increase was slightly higher for boys than for girls, according to the researchers.

"Our findings indicate that the rates of type 1 diabetes in youth are increasing," Lawrence said. "These trends will continue to be monitored in the U.S. by the SEARCH study to help identify trends in type 1 diabetes in non-Hispanic white youth and youth from other racial and ethnic groups, and to identify potential causes of these increases.

"We have been seeing more children being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over the 8 years of this study and these children will require specialized health care as they enter young adulthood."

The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study is a national multicenter study aimed at developing a deeper understanding of type 1 and type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents in the United States. The study, which started in 2000, involves centers located in five states -- California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington -- and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in childhood, with only 5 percent of all people with diabetes having this form of the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 1 diabetes, the body loses its ability to produce insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily life. Insulin therapy and other treatments are required to help people with type 1 diabetes manage their condition, live long, healthy lives and to prevent or delay diabetes-related complications that may affect their eyes, nerves and kidneys.
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Additional study authors include Giuseppina Imperatore, MD, PhD, of the Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, of the Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver; Elizabeth J. Mayer-Davis, PhD, of the Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina and School of Medicine, University of North Carolina; Barbara Linder, MD, PhD, of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health; Sharon Saydah, PhD, of the Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Georgeanna J. Klingensmith, MD, of the Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Lawrence Dolan, MD, of the Division of Endocrinology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati; Debra A. Standiford, MSN, CNP, of the Division of Endocrinology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Catherine Pihoker, MD, of the Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle; David J. Pettitt, MD, of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute; Jennifer W. Talton, MS, of the Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Joan Thomas, MS, RD, of the Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Ronny A. Ball, PhD, of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine; and Ralph B. D'Agostino, Jr., of the Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, for the SEARCH For Diabetes in Youth Study Group.

About the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation

The Department of Research & Evaluation conducts high-quality, innovative research into disease etiology, prevention, treatment and care delivery. Investigators conduct epidemiology, health sciences and behavioral research as well as clinical trials. Areas of interest include diabetes and obesity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, aging and cognition, pregnancy outcomes, women's and children's health, quality and safety, and pharmacoepidemiology. Located in Pasadena, California, the department focuses on translating research to practice quickly to benefit the health and lives of Kaiser Permanente Southern California members and the general population.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.3 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

Kaiser Permanente

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