COVID-19 may increase diabetes risk among children, CDC finds

After a COVID-19 infection, children are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, compared to those who haven't been infected, according to the CDC's Jan. 7 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Researchers used two national medical claims databases to look at diabetes diagnoses among those younger than 18 with a previous COVID-19 infection, comparing them to those with no history of COVID-19. They also looked at whether pediatric patients who had a history of other acute respiratory infections before the pandemic had an increased risk of developing diabetes. The team looked at claims made from March 1, 2020, to June 28, 2021. 

In both databases, researchers found diabetes incidence was significantly higher among those with a prior COVID-19 infection than those without. In the first database, diabetes incidence was 166 percent higher among the COVID-19 cohort compared to the non-COVID-19 group. In the other dataset, incidence was 31 percent higher. The study did not find an association between other acute respiratory infections and diabetes.

Sharon Saydah, PhD, lead study author, told The New York Times that it's not yet clear whether post-COVID-19 Type 2 diabetes would be a chronic condition, or something that resolves, adding that most children were followed for about four and a half months. 

"The observed increased risk for diabetes among persons aged [less than] 18 years who had COVID-19 highlights the importance of COVID-19 prevention strategies, including vaccination, for all eligible persons in this age group, in addition to chronic disease prevention and management," the study said. "The mechanism of how SARS-CoV-2 might lead to incident diabetes is likely complex and could differ by Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Monitoring for long-term consequences, including signs of new diabetes, following SARS-CoV-2 infection is important in this age group." 

Editor's note: This article was updated Jan. 17 at 4:10 p.m. CT.


Copyright © 2022 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars