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Type 1 Diabetes May Be Rising in Kids

Latest Diabetes Statistics Suggest an Increase in Type 1 Diabetes in Children and Teens
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 26, 2007 -- Type 1 diabetes may be becoming more common among U.S. kids and teens, diabetes researchers announced today.

New type 1 diabetes statistics "seem higher than in the past years, based on data from previous reports in the United States," researcher Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, told reporters in a news conference.

Dabelea, who works at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, cautions that it's hard to directly compare her data with previous studies, due to differences in methodology.

"However," says Dabelea, "we do believe that these rates suggest that there is an increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes in the United States."

Dabelea's team studied 2,435 U.S. children and teens at 10 sites nationwide who were diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in 2002 or 2003.

In type 1 diabetes, the body can't make enough insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn't respond properly to insulin or it can't make enough insulin.

Overall, diabetes annually affects about 24 per 100,000 kids and teens per year, most of whom are whites with type 1 diabetes, according to the report, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Type 1 Diabetes in Children

In a news conference, Dabelea told reporters that type 1 diabetes peaked around puberty, affecting nearly 33 per 100,000 white children aged 10-14 per year.

"There is a pattern with race ethnicity here, with the highest rates in all these age groups in whites, followed by African- Americans, followed by Hispanics, followed by Asian/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians," Dabelea says.

However, she notes that type 1 diabetes does occur in minority groups.

"In this age group -- 10-14 years -- the number of youth developing type 1 diabetes is one in 3,000 white kids, one in 5,000 African-American and Hispanic youth, and less than one in 10,000 Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian youth," says Dabelea.

Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Type 2 diabetes used to be considered an adult disease. But it's becoming more common in children and teens.

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