Diabetes diagnoses on the rise among kids, teens

The number of youth diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes increased nearly 5 percent per year over a decade.

The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study looked at the rate of new diagnosed cases of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes among youth (those younger than 20) from 2002 and 2012.

The study found that Type 1 diabetes in youth increased by about 1.8 percent each year. During the same time, the rate of new cases of Type 2 diabetes increased by 4.8 percent, according to the study.

An estimated 208,000 people younger than 20 are living with diagnosed diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is when the body’s immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas, making the body incapable of producing insulin. It is not reversible.

Type 2 diabetes is the result of the body’s cells becoming insulin resistant, allowing sugar to remain in the bloodstream. Diet and exercise can help to slow or stop the progression of Type 2 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 Dr. Giuseppina Imperatore, epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a news release.

Here are some other findings from the report:

  • New diagnosed cases of Type 1 diabetes among youth younger than 19 increased more annually in males (2.2 percent) than in females (1.4 percent).
  • The rate of new diagnosed cases of Type 2 diabetes among youth younger than 19 increased most sharply in Native Americans (8.9 percent) and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (8.5 percent).
  • New diagnosed cases of Type 2 diabetes rose much more sharply among 10- to 19-year-olds in females (6.2 percent) than in males (3.7 percent).
Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Scroll to top