Youth-onset type 1 and type 2 diabetes incidence is rising, according to analysis.

Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers’ most recent findings confirm that the prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes continues to rise among children and young adults. Diabetes was also more common in young Black and Hispanic children and adults who were not Hispanic.

The study is published online in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology’s current issue.

The findings come from the final report of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, which was the largest diabetes surveillance effort ever conducted in the United States among youth under the age of 20. The multi-site study, which began in 2000 and received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, was coordinated by Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Between 2002 and 2018, the research team found that five centers in the United States had more than 5,200 young people between the ages of 10 and 19 with Type 2 diabetes and more than 18,000 children and young people between the ages of infants and 19 years old with a physician-diagnosed diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. In 2017–18, the annual incidence of type 1 diabetes was 22.2 per 100,000, while the annual incidence of type 2 diabetes was 17.9 per 100,000.

According to Wagenknecht, “in our 17-year analysis, we found that the incidence of Type 1 diabetes increased by 2% per year and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes increased by 5.3 percent per year.”

Racial and ethnic groups also had higher rates of growth than non-Hispanic white children. Specifically, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic Black children and adolescents experienced the greatest annual percentage increases in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

For Type 1 diabetes, the average age at diagnosis was 10 years, while for Type 2 diabetes, it was 16 years. Additionally, the researchers noted that the peak of Type 1 diabetes typically occurs in January. Variations in the amount of daylight, lower levels of vitamin D, and an increase in viral infections are all potential causes of this seasonality.

August marked the peak onset of Type 2 diabetes. This is attributed by researchers to an increase in sports physicals and routine health screenings at the start of the academic school year.

Wagenknecht stated, “These findings will help guide focused prevention efforts.” The underlying pathophysiology of youth-onset diabetes will be the focus of our next phase of research now that we have a better understanding of risk factors.”

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