Diabetes Surge Expected in Young People

Eliza Partika

December 30, 2022

The incidence of type 2 diabetes in youth could rise by nearly 700% by 2060 if recent trends for the disease continue, according to a new study published this month in Diabetes Care.

It is expected that as many as 526,000 people younger than 20 years in the United States will have diabetes by 2060, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Their projections found that the number of young people with diabetes will increase 12%, from 213,000 in 2017 to 239,000 in 2060.

The estimates include a 673% rise in the number of youth with type 2 diabetes and a 65% increase in cases of type 1 diabetes over the next four decades.

Most of the new cases are projected to occur among non-Hispanic Blacks, exacerbating the already significant racial disparities in type 2 diabetes in particular, the study found.

"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," Christopher Holliday, PhD, MPH, FACHE, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, said in a press release about the new estimates.

Even if trends remain the same in coming decades, researchers said diagnoses of type 2 diabetes will rise almost 70% and that diagnoses of type 1 diabetes will increase by 3%.

The researchers attribute the increase in diabetes cases among youth to a variety of factors, including the growing prevalence of childhood obesity and the presence of diabetes in women of childbearing age, which is linked to obesity in their offspring.

Debra Houry, MD, MPH, acting principal director of the CDC, said the focus should be on prevention.

"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," she said in a press release.

The findings come from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, funded by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health. Houry and Holliday report no relevant financial relationships.

Diabetes Care. Published online December 29, 2022. Abstract

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