Until recently, most children with diabetes mellitus had type 1 diabetes (T1DM). The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is on the rise in North America, especially in risk populations such as the American Indians. Few epidemiological data on the incidence of the disease exist in Europe. In a prospective population-based epidemiological study, all newly diagnosed cases of diabetes mellitus in patients under 15 years of age were registered nation-wide in Austria between 1999 and 2001. Differential diagnosis (according to the American Diabetes Association diagnostic criteria) was based on clinical case definition. During the 3 years of the study period, 529 cases of DM <15 years were documented, of which 510 were clinically assigned to T1DM (271 boys, 239 girls) resulting in an incidence rate of 12.4/100,000. In the same network, eight cases were diagnosed as T2DM (one boy, seven girls) and two cases with an atypical form of T2DM (two girls). The age of onset of T2DM was 12-15 years and all patients were overweight (body mass index >90th percentile). The calculated incidence for T2DM <15 years in Austria was 0.25/100,000.
Conclusion: at present, type 2 diabetes mellitus is rare but exists in children aged under 15 years in Austria. Follow-up of this registration will help to describe the secular trend.