Kaiser Permanente Research Focuses on Diabetes in Hispanic American Youth

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:

“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, PhD, study chairperson) and Washington (Catherine Pihoker, MD). The central laboratory for the study is the Northwest Lipid Research Laboratories in Seattle, Washington (Santica Marcovina, PhD, ScD). The coordinating center is at the Division of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine (Ronny Bell, PhD).

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