Diabetes Audit Highlights Widening Inequality Gap for Ethnic Minority Children

Priscilla Lynch 

June 29, 2021

Immediate action from the Government is required to address the disparity in access to life-changing diabetes technologies, the charity Diabetes UK has said in response to a new report.

Findings from the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit (NPDA) show widening inequalities in the care of children and young people with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales for the sixth year. These include poorer diabetes outcomes and worsening access to diabetes technology in children and young people from ethnic minority backgrounds and socially deprived areas.

The NPDA reveals that:

  • Children and young people with type 1 diabetes from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to have higher average glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels compared with White children.

  • Black children and young people have the highest average HbA1c levels, followed by children with a mixed ethnic background and Asian children.

  • Children in the most deprived areas are more likely to have higher average HbA1c levels compared with those in the least deprived areas.

While the NPDA reports an overall upward trend in the use of diabetes technologies such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), technology use is lowest in children and young people from socially deprived areas and from ethnic minority communities.

Specifically, the NPDA shows the following:

  • The gap between children using an insulin pump in the most and least deprived areas has widened from 7.9% in 2014/2015 to 12.6% in 2019/2020.

  • There is significantly lower use of insulin pumps and CGMs in Black children compared with White children, who have the highest use of diabetes technology.

  • A total of 27,653 children and young people in the UK have type 1 diabetes according to the NPDA—the highest prevalence in Europe.


Diabetes UK is urging the Government to take immediate action to ensure that every child and young person can access diabetes technology regardless of where they live.

Chris Askew, chief executive at Diabetes UK, said: "It is unacceptable that children and young people from ethnic minority communities and socially deprived areas have poorer diabetes-related outcomes and lower usage of diabetes technology. We need to understand precisely why these children and young people face such stark and widening inequalities to help address and solve the problem for future generations."

"But what we can do now is ensure that diabetes technology is made available to all children and young people who meet the eligibility criteria."

"This funding would save children with diabetes and their families from distress that nobody should have to face, and could help reduce hospital admissions from preventable complications. It is vital that the Government gives all people with diabetes the tools they need, today."

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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