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Type 1 Diabetes Rates Spike in Non-Hipsanic White Children

Update Date: Oct 24, 2014 09:21 AM EDT

The number of cases of type 1 diabetes diagnosed in non-Hispanic white children and adolescents has increased significantly in almost all age groups, a new study reported. The researchers found that the spike was the most pronounced in children between the ages of five and nine.

"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."

Lawrence and fellow researchers examined the rate of type 1 diabetes between 2002 and 2009. They had data on more than two million children and adolescents taken from the SEARCH for Diabetes Youth registry. Out of this sample, 5,842 of them were non-Hispanic white children aged 19 and younger who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They found that overall, the incidence of this illness for this particular racial group increased from 24.4 cases per 100,000 youth to 27.4 cases per 100,000 youth during the study's time period.

In terms of age groups, the largest jump in cases was in children aged five to nine. There were also increases in the rate of type 1 diabetes in children belonging to the age groups of 10 to 14 and 15 to 19. Children aged four and younger were the only ones that did not experience an increase in cases.

"Our findings indicate that the rates of type 1 diabetes in youth are increasing. 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," Lawrence said reported in the press release. "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."

The study, "Trends in Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes Among Non-Hispanic White Youth in the U.S., 2002-2009," was published in the journal, Diabetes.

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