Press Releases: Southern California
February 26, 2009
Kaiser Permanente Research Focuses on Diabetes in Hispanic American Youth
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents and its occurrence is rising
PASADENA, Calif. – The journal Diabetes Care released results today from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, the largest surveillance effort conducted in the United States to date of youth with diabetes under the age of 20 years. Included in the series of articles appearing in the March supplement of Diabetes Care is the article "Diabetes in Hispanic American Youth," lead-authored by Jean Lawrence, ScD, research scientist and epidemiologist in the Department of Research and Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
SEARCH FOR DIABETES IN YOUTH STUDY
The series presents a comprehensive picture of diabetes in children and adolescents from five ethnic and racial groups in the United States, including African-American, American Indian/Navajo Nation, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white. The articles provide unique information about the burden of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in youth from public health and clinical perspectives, and describe important aspects of the epidemiologic, metabolic, behavioral, and quality of care issues in youth with diabetes.
"We found that type 1 diabetes is more common than type 2 diabetes in Hispanic American youth of all ages," said Dr. Lawrence, principal investigator for the study at Kaiser Permanente Southern California. "However, in youth ages 15-19 the incidence of type 2 diabetes is higher than that of type 1 diabetes in girls but not boys. We also found that over a third of the youth in this oldest age group with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes had poor glycemic control, which increases their risk for future diabetes-related complications."
Those who develop diabetes in childhood are at increased risk for complications like kidney failure, sight-threatening retinopathy, or premature cardiovascular diseases due to the longer duration of the disease compared with persons who develop diabetes as adults.
Some key findings from diabetic youth from other ethnic and racial groups studied by SEARCH include:
- About 50 percent of African-American youth age 15 years or older have poorly controlled blood sugar, which is a major risk factor for long-term, serious complications
- Asian and Pacific Islander youth, particularly adolescents, have a high risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes: 1 in about 8,200 youth develops type 2 diabetes annually
- Navajo youth have the greatest risk of type 2 diabetes: 1 in 2,542 develop diabetes annually. Navajo youth with diabetes have poor glycemic control and evidence of severe depression
- The incidence rate of type 1 diabetes among U.S. non-Hispanic white youth is today one of the highest in the world: 1 in about 4,200 youth develops type 1 diabetes annually This rate is higher than all previously reported U.S. studies and many European studies. Type 2 diabetes is relatively rare in non-Hispanic white youth, but incidence rates are still several-fold higher than those reported by European countries.
"Continuing this surveillance effort is essential to document the future burden of diabetes and its complications on our youth, their families, and the health care system," said Dr. Lawrence. "These studies also help emphasize the need for continued focus on managing diabetes and preventing its complications."
The study was funded by the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health. It involves six clinical centers in the states of California (Jean Lawrence, ScD), Colorado (Dana Dabelea, MD, study vice-chairperson), Hawaii (Beatriz Rodriguez, MD), Ohio (Lawrence Dolan, MD), South Carolina (Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, Ph.D., study chairperson) and Washington (Catherine Pihoker, MD). The central laboratory for the study is the Northwest Lipid Research Laboratories in Seattle, Washington (Santica Marcovina, Ph.D., ScD). The coordinating center is at the Division of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine (Ronny Bell, Ph.D.).
To read Dr. Lawrence's full article, go to the Diabetes Care Web site. Link may be restricted to subscribers, temporary, or have other limited access.
About the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation
The Department of Research and Evaluation conducts high-quality, innovative research into disease etiology, prevention, treatment and care delivery. Investigators conduct epidemiology, health sciences, and behavioral research as well as clinical trials. Areas of interest include diabetes and obesity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, aging and cognition, pregnancy outcomes, women's and children's health, quality and safety, and pharmacoepidemiology. Located in Pasadena, California, the department focuses on translating research to practice quickly to benefit the health and lives of Kaiser Permanente Southern California members and the general population. Visit www.kp.org/research.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation's leading integrated health plans. Founded in 1945, it is a nonprofit, group practice prepayment program with Southern California headquarters in Pasadena, California. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 3.3 million members in Southern California. Today it encompasses the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region includes more than 55,800 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 6,400 physicians representing all specialties. More information about Kaiser Permanente can be found at kaiserpermanente.org.