The burden of diabetes mellitus among US youth: prevalence estimates from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study

Pediatrics. 2006 Oct;118(4):1510-8. doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-0690.


Objective: Our goal was to estimate the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in youth <20 years of age in 2001 in the United States, according to age, gender, race/ethnicity, and diabetes type.

Methods: The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study is a 6-center observational study conducting population-based ascertainment of physician-diagnosed diabetes in youth. Census-based denominators for 4 geographically based centers and enrollment data for 2 health plan-based centers were used to calculate prevalence. Age-, gender-, and racial/ethnic group-specific prevalence rates were multiplied by US population counts to estimate the total number of US youth with diabetes.

Results: We identified 6379 US youth with diabetes in 2001, in a population of approximately 3.5 million. Crude prevalence was estimated as 1.82 cases per 1000 youth, being much lower for youth 0 to 9 years of age (0.79 cases per 1000 youth) than for those 10 to 19 years of age (2.80 cases per 1000 youth). Non-Hispanic white youth had the highest prevalence (1.06 cases per 1000 youth) in the younger group. Among 10- to 19-year-old youth, black youth (3.22 cases per 1000 youth) and non-Hispanic white youth (3.18 cases per 1000 youth) had the highest rates, followed by American Indian youth (2.28 cases per 1000 youth), Hispanic youth (2.18 cases per 1000 youth), and Asian/Pacific Islander youth (1.34 cases per 1000 youth). Among younger children, type 1 diabetes accounted for > or = 80% of diabetes; among older youth, the proportion of type 2 diabetes ranged from 6% (0.19 cases per 1000 youth for non-Hispanic white youth) to 76% (1.74 cases per 1000 youth for American Indian youth). We estimated that 154,369 youth had physician-diagnosed diabetes in 2001 in the United States.

Conclusions: The overall prevalence estimate for diabetes in children and adolescents was approximately 0.18%. Type 2 diabetes was found in all racial/ethnic groups but generally was less common than type 1, except in American Indian youth.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / ethnology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology