Prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus in U.S. Youth in 2009: The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study.

  1. for the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study Group
  1. 1Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, Santa Barbara, CA
  2. 2Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
  3. 3Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO
  4. 4Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
  5. 5Department of Research & Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, CA
  6. 6University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
  7. 7National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, MD
  8. 8Departments of Nutrition and Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
  9. 9Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  10. 10Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
  1. Corresponding author: David J. Pettitt, E-mail: dpettitt{at}


Objective To estimate the prevalence of diabetes in U.S. youth aged < 20 years in 2009 and to estimate the total number of youth with diabetes in U.S. by age, race/ethnicity, and diabetes type.

Research Design and Methods To address one of its primary aims, the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study identified youth aged < 20 years on 12/31/2009 with physician diagnosed diabetes in selected areas of Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington, among health plan members of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and among American Indians living on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Diabetes was classified as type 1, type 2 or other. Race/ethnicity was by self- report.

Results From a population of 3,458,974 youth aged < 20 years, 7,695 with diabetes were identified (2.22/1000) – 6,668 with type 1 (1.93/1000), 837 with type 2 (0.24/1000) and 190 (0.05/1000) with other diabetes types. Prevalence increased with age, was slightly higher in females than males, and was most prevalent in non-Hispanic White (NHW) and least prevalent in Asian/Pacific Islanders, with Native American and Black youth having the highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes. An estimated 191,986 U.S. youth aged < 20 years have diabetes; 166,984 type 1, 20,262 type 2 diabetes, and 4,740 other types.

Conclusion Diabetes mellitus, one of the leading chronic diseases in childhood, affects over 190,000 (1 out of 433) youth less than age 20 years in the US, with racial and ethnic disparities seen in diabetes prevalence, overall and by diabetes type.

  • Received August 3, 2013.
  • Accepted September 9, 2013.

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