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November 21, 2000
Contact: Mary Kay Sones
CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention
& Health Promotion
(770) 488–5131

Press Release

CDC funds registries for childhood diabetes

With diabetes increasing at unprecedented rates among adults both in the United States and throughout the world, initial reports suggest a rise in type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $1 million in cooperative agreements to establish a multicenter registry system to define childhood diabetes and to measure the disease burden among youth in the United States.

"An increase in type 2 diabetes in young people means that we are going to have more people – children and adults – with diabetes and they will have it for a longer time, which increases the rate of severe complications like blindness, renal failure, and amputations," said Dr. Frank Vinicor, director of CDC’s diabetes program. Almost 16 million people in America are now estimated to have diabetes.

The centers receiving funds include Kaiser Permanente Southern California; University of Colorado Health Science Center Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics; Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; and University of South Carolina. Key elements of this multicenter approach will be the diversity of the population and uniformity of type classification. The combined centers will provide a target population of about 4.5 million children (about 6 percent of all American children), more than 6,000 existing cases, and about 800 new cases a year. The project will last 5 years.

"CDC’s Childhood Diabetes Registry will study the prevalence, incidence, natural history, and quality of care of children with diabetes and will help identify future programs and interventions. It will also address some important racial and ethnic health disparities issues," said Vinicor.

Since there is no existing gold standard to differentiate the types of childhood diabetes, this study will offer unique opportunities to identify and test methods to correctly classify types of childhood diabetes. The collection of many childhood diabetes cases will allow further clinical, epidemiologic, health care, and therapeutic research into what CDC scientists see as a major emerging public health problem.

Although diabetes in children has typically been assumed to be type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes), recent clinical case series have indicated that type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) is emerging among black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, American Indian and white children and may account for 8% to 45% of the new cases of childhood diabetes. Type 2 is characterized primarily by insulin resistance and a relative decrease in insulin secretion.

Increases have also been noted in type 1 diabetes. Results from a recent European study of 44 centers covering about 28 million children reported a rapid increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes, especially in children under 5 years old. In the United States, the incidence of type 1 diabetes may be slightly decreasing in Colorado, increasing in Hawaii, and be stable in Allegheny County, Penn., but national incidence data are not available. Type 1 diabetes leads to permanent deficiency in insulin secretion.

For more information on diabetes and children, call 1-877-CDC-DIAB (1-877-232-3422) or visit the following Web site:

CDC protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes health living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.

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This page last reviewed December 26, 2000

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