Type 1 Diabetes Has Increased in Urban Children By 70 Percent

Type 1 Diabetes Has Increased in Urban Children By 70 Percent
Type 1 Diabetes Has Increased in Urban Children By 70 Percent

Diabetes itself is growing. It has been for years now. What surprises many people however is to learn that type 1 diabetes among children is growing at a higher rate. In fact, in children aged under five years old, type 1 diabetes has increased by 70 percent in Philadelphia.

Information about diabetes has been collected since 1985 from the University of Pennsylvania.  Researchers led by nursing professor Terri H. Lipman, PhD, RN found that there was an increase in type 1 diabetes in children of 29 percent between the years of 1985 and 2004.

“The most rapid increase in type 1diabetes — in children diagnosed before age 5– requires immediate attention. These young children are at the highest risk for death because of often-delayed diagnosis. The rapidly rising risk of diabetes in black children ages 0-4 years is of particular concern given the marked racial disparities that have been identified in diabetes outcomes and treatment in this population.” reported Dr. Lipman.

The research pulls from a unique data set that comes from the Philadelphia Pediatric Diabetes Registry, which had been maintained since 1985 by Dr. Lipman. Throughout 20 years, 935 cases of type 1 diabetes has been diagnosed in children.

Dr. Lipman said, “The incidence of type 1 diabetes in Philadelphia children has increased at an average yearly rate of 1.5 percent. However, the incidence had been relatively stable over the first 15 years and has risen most markedly since 2000. This upward trend adds to the evidence of an increasing incidence of diabetes in the United States and worldwide.”

Upon the collecting of racial and ethnic data, research shows that type 1 diabetes if stable in white children, about 13 white children are diagnosed in the 100,000 children that are diagnosed per year. There was however, an increase between 2000 and 2004 of 48 percent. In Hispanic children, 15.5 were diagnosed per 100,000 children and 27 percent increase between 2000 and 2004.

“While there are a number of hypotheses related to the causes of the increases in type 1 diabetes, no risk factors have been confirmed. It is critical to continue to investigate risk factors that may be associated with the increased incidence of type 1 diabetes overall, and the marked rise in the incidence in young children.” Said Dr. Lipman

Type 2 diabetes was also looked into for the first time in the Philadelphia registry. Type 1 diabetes was found more, at 18 times more than type 2 diabetes in white children. In black children, it was found 1.6 times more. Therefore, in white children, type 1 diabetes is found more often while in black children, type 2 diabetes is found more.

“Type 1 diabetes continues to be the greatest risk for children in Philadelphia, three times greater than type 2 diabetes,” reported Dr. Lipman. “Improving and continuing research and data collection will help clarify the origins and epidemiology of these alarming worldwide trends in pediatric diabetes.”