Diabetes rates among young people in the United States may rise, according to a study
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- December 31, 2022
If current trends continue, the number of people with Type 2 diabetes under the age of 20 in the United States could rise by nearly 675 percent by 2060, with an additional 65 percent of young people with Type 1 diabetes.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that Type 2 diabetes, in which the body doesn’t use insulin as it should, has “substantially increased” in this age group over the past two decades. Type 1 diabetes is more common in young people in the U.S.
The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, which is funded by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, was used in the new study, which was published this month in the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care.
The researchers found that the number of young people with either type of diabetes would rise by 12% from 213,000 to 239,000 if incidence rates from 2017 remained unchanged over the following decades. However, by 2060, 526,000 young people may have diabetes if the incidence continues to rise at the same rate as it did between 2002 and 2017.
Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Native American/Alaska Native youth, according to the researchers, are more likely than White youth to have Type 2 diabetes.
According to the CDC, the significant rise in expected rates of Type 2 diabetes could be caused by a number of factors, including rising rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in women of childbearing age.
Diabetes complications include nerve damage, problems with vision and hearing, kidney disease, heart disease, and premature death. The researchers point out that the disease may worsen more quickly in young people than in adults, necessitating earlier medical attention. As a result, health care costs may rise as a result of increased demand for American healthcare systems.
“This new research should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. It’s vital that we focus our efforts to ensure all Americans, especially our young people, are the healthiest they can be,” Dr. Debra Houry, acting principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a statement.
The findings were described as “alarming” by Christopher Holliday, director of the agency’s Division of Diabetes Translation.
“This study’s startling projections of Type 2 diabetes increases show why it is crucial to advance health equity and reduce the widespread disparities that already take a toll on people’s health,” he said in a statement.