Diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism, the way our bodies use digested food for energy, according to WebMD. Most of our food is converted into glucose, the type of sugar in the blood, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into our cells there must be insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. But for people with diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
Children with diabetes are on the rise, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the study, researchers found a 21 percent rise in type 1 diabetes in youth from the ages of birth to 19 years. They also found a 30.5 percent rise in type 2 diabetes in youth ranging from 10 to 19 years.
The study is being published in the May 7 issue of JAMA, an issue with the theme of child health. It is being released early to coincide with Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting.
In the study, the researchers wanted to see if there had been a legitimate rise in cases of diabetes among the youth from 2001 to 2009, and if the rise was associated with gender, age, and race or ethnicity.
They write, “Understanding changes in prevalence according to population subgroups is important to inform clinicians about care that will be needed for the pediatric population living with diabetes and may provide direction for other studies designed to determine the causes of the observed changes.”
The study population came from five centers located in California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington State. Data was also taken from selected Indian reservations in Arizona and New Mexico.
Researchers found that in 2009 6666 of 3.4 million youth were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes compared to 4958 of 3.3 million youth in 2001. The prevalence rate for 2009 was 1.93 per 1000 youth. It increased across all demographic barriers, with the lone exception of the 0 to 4 age group for American Indians.
For type 2 diabetes researchers found in 2009 819 of 1.8 million youth were diagnosed, compared to 588 of 1.7 million youth in 2001. The prevalence rate for 2009 was 0.46 per 1000 youth. The researchers write, “Significant increases occurred between 2001 and 2009 in both sexes, all age-groups, and in white, Hispanic, and black youth, with no significant changes for Asian Pacific Islanders and American Indians.”
Although researchers in the discussion section speculated on causes of the rise of both types of diabetes amongst the youth of the population, they declined to offer a firm conclusion of causality, simply saying, “Further studies are required to determine the causes of these increases.”
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