According to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), type 2 diabetes is predicted to surge almost 700 percent in young people by 2060 if current trends continue. Currently, 37 million or one in 10 Americans suffer from diabetes.1
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin and the insulin that is produced is unable to be processed the way it should be causing excess sugar to circulate in the bloodstream.2 It is a chronic condition that tends to develop over time and be related to lifestyle.3 Being overweight or obese is one of the biggest risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.4
The study predicts that 220,000 people under the age of 20 would be living with type 2 diabetes by 2060. This increase is alarming, especially when compared to statistics from 2017 showing that 28,000 people under the age of 20 were living with the disease.5
In this CDC study, researchers looked at data from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth for the years 2002 through 2017 in order to predict future outcomes of diabetes diagnosis among those under the age of 20 based on previous trends.6
At the same time, another study published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) shows that type 1 diabetes is expected to increase 65 percent in young people by 2060. Type 1 diabetes results when too little or no insulin is produced by the pancreas. Currently, 283,000 children and teens have diabetes with 244,000 diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.7
Living with Diabetes Comes at a High Cost
The financial burden of diabetes on individuals and society is enormous. The average additional cost of living for a person with diabetes is about $16,752 a year which is a 26 percent increase in the last five years. The disease also contributes to society’s overall public health burden. According to the ADA, the overall cost for all types of diabetes was $327 billion in 2017.8
“Diabetes in youth, particularly type 2 diabetes in youth, is a far more serious disease than in older adults,” warned K.M. Venkat Narayan, executive director of the Emory Global Diabetes Research Center.
Dr. Louhua Jiang, diabetes researcher at the University of California in Irvine, said:
It’ll be very critical to educate American youth regarding healthy lifestyles and potential ways to prevent diabetes in their early lives in order to ‘flatten the curve’ for the quickly rising number of youth with diabetes among the underserved/minority populations.9
The toll from diabetes far exceeds financial cost of the condition. People with diabetes are at risk of other serious health complications such as heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, mental health problems, and issues with their feet, hearing and vision.10 The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to have other health complications. Therefore, the disease carries a greater risk the younger someone is at diagnosis.11
Dr. Elizabeth Selvin, an epidemiologist specializing in diabetes research, said:
These increases in type 2 diabetes in youth are sobering. It used to be thought that type 2 diabetes was a disease of adults. And now, we’re seeing major increases in kids. And this is a disease they’re likely to have their whole lives.12
Minority Children Disproportionately Affected by Diabetes
Researchers predict that the massive increase in type 2 diabetes will affect black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native young adult populations the most.13 Currently, the highest number of children and teens living with diabetes are Black or American Indian.14
Researchers pointed to the increase in childhood obesity and gestational diabetes in pregnant women as potential explanation to the dramatic increase in diabetes diagnosis.15 According to the CDC, 14.7 million or approximately 20 percent of children and teens in the U.S. are obese. Obesity is defined as having body mass index (BMI) at or above 95 percent of the CDC BMI chart. 26.2 percent of Hispanic children, 24.8 percent of African-American children, nine percent of Asian-American children and 16.6 percent of Caucasian children are considered to be obese.16
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Click here to view References:
1 Bailey-Milado R. Type 2 diabetes on track to surge 700% in young Americans: CDC issues ‘wake-up call’. New York Post Dec. 30, 2022.
2 Mayo Clinic. Type 2 Diabetes.
3 Hassanien N. Diabetes in kids and young people is projected to dramatically surge. Can it be prevented? USA Today Dec. 30, 2022.
4 National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Diseases. Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes. July 2022.
5 Chen, E. Diabetes in youth is set to skyrocket in coming decades. Stat Dec. 20, 2022.
6 MaTonnies T, Brinks R, Isom S. Projections of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Burden in the U.S. Population Aged <20 Years Through 2060: The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study. Diabetes Care Dec. 29, 2022.
7 Bailey-Milado R. Type 2 diabetes on track to surge 700% in young Americans: CDC issues ‘wake-up call’. New York Post Dec. 30, 2022.
8 Lindberg S. Cost of Type 2 Diabetes. Healthline June 17, 2020.
9 Hassanien N. Diabetes in kids and young people is projected to dramatically surge. Can it be prevented? USA Today Dec. 30, 2022.
10 Bailey-Milado R. Type 2 diabetes on track to surge 700% in young Americans: CDC issues ‘wake-up call’. New York Post Dec. 30, 2022.
11 National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Diseases. Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes. July 2022.
13 Bailey-Milado R. Type 2 diabetes on track to surge 700% in young Americans: CDC issues ‘wake-up call’. New York Post Dec. 30, 2022.
14 National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Diseases. Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes. July 2022.
15 Press Release. Future Surge in Diabetes Could Dramatically Impact People Under 20 in U.S. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dec. 29, 2022.
16 CDC. Childhood Obesity Facts.