Youth diabetes cases to more than double in coming decades, CDC warns

A "startling" surge in diabetes diagnoses among American youth is predicted by 2060, according to a Dec. 29 CDC report.

Two key findings from the study, published Dec. 16 in Diabetes Care, are that experts believe childhood obesity is the reason for the expected hike in diabetes cases and that minority populations will likely be disproportionately affected. 

The study reports approximately 526,000 people under age 20 in the U.S. could be diagnosed with diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, by 2060. In 2017, 213,000 youth in the U.S. had diabetes.

The CDC warned if current trends continue, diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes in young people could jump 70 percent and Type 1 diagnoses could increase 3 percent in the coming decades. 

Christopher Holliday, PhD, director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, labeled the predictions "alarming," adding the increase in diabetes diagnoses in the U.S. has already begun.

"This study's startling projections of type 2 diabetes increases show why it is crucial to advance health equity and reduce the widespread disparities that already take a toll on people's health," Dr. Holliday said in the report. 

Debra Houry, MD, acting principal deputy director of the CDC, called the new research a "wake-up call" that should spur further action to "prevent and manage chronic diseases, not only for our current population but also for generations to come.”

Diabetes is among the top causes of death in the U.S., ranking at No. 7 on the list. 

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