Between 1990 and 2019, cases of pediatric diabetes in the world increased by 39.37% from 163,292 diagnoses a year to 227,579. In the same period, however, deaths fell by 20%, from 6,719 in 1990 to 5,390 in 2019. These are the salient data of a study coordinated by Weifang Medical University in China and published in JAMA Pediatrics.
“For many years, diabetes in children was represented by the type 1 diabetes. Recently, the global childhood obesity epidemic has led to an increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes“, explain the researchers.
The study on children between 0 and 14 years
The study analyzed data on the diffusion of diabetes in the world in the age group between 0 and 14 years, noting a constant increase in cases of the disease over the last thirty years. The increase is partly due to the growth of the pediatric population, partly to a greater diffusion of the disease.
On a global scale, the incidence, i.e. the number of new cases per year, increased from 9.31 to 11.61 new cases per 100,000, an increase of 24%.
Most common disease in high-income countries
High-income countries remain those where the disease is more widespread, with 26.24 cases per 100,000. The highest values, in particular, are recorded in North America, where 29.24 children per 100,000 suffer from diabetes. The lowest values are instead recorded in Oceania with 4.04 children for every 100,000 affected by the disease.
The greatest growth is recorded instead in North Africa and the Middle East, where diabetes rates have doubled in 30 years, going from 9.16 per 100,000 to 17.62. Growth was also strong in Europe, with an increase of about 50%.
“Over the past 30 years, the global burden of diabetes in children has gradually increased along with the obesity epidemic; this burden is expected to continue to increase,” the researchers conclude.