SEARCH is the largest surveillance effort of diabetes among youth under the age of 20 ever conducted in the United States, said Ronny A. Bell, Ph.D., M.S., associate professor of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and a SEARCH co-investigator. It is the first look at the burden of diabetes in youth of all major racial and ethnic groups.

The study investigators estimate that about 154,000 of roughly 80.7 million children and adolescents nationwide had diabetes in 2001. The number of youth with diabetes varies across major U.S. racial and ethnic groups and across age groups.

In children up through 9 years of age, non-Hispanic white children had the highest diabetes rate (about 1 in every 1,000 children). In this age group across all racial and ethnic groups, physician-diagnosed type 1diabetes, previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes, was the most common form of diabetes. The study found that type 2 diabetes was extremely rare in children under 10 years of age of all races.

Among adolescents and young adults, black and non-Hispanic white youth had the highest overall burden of diabetes (about 1 in every 315) and Asian/Pacific Islander had the lowest (about 1 in 746). Type 1diabetes was the most common form of diabetes in all racial/ethnic groups except in American Indian youth.

Type 2 diabetes was found in all racial and ethnic groups in youth 10 to 19. It represented only 6 percent of the cases of diabetes in non-Hispanic whites, 33 percent in blacks, and 40 percent in Asian/Pacific Islanders, but was the most common form of diabetes, at 76 percent, among American Indian youth.

“The study was funded precisely because there was such a lack of systematically collected population-based prevalence data, especially for Type 2 diabetes,” said Angela D. Liese, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, the lead author.

MEDICA.de; Source: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center