Objective: Obesity's association with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is well established, but is less clear with type 1 diabetes (T1DM). We calculated the prevalence of overweight and obesity among diabetic youth in the USA from a six-center, population-based study of racially and ethnically diverse youth with diabetes, and we compared these rates with estimates among nondiabetic youth.
Design/setting: Diabetic participants were examined in 2001-2004 for the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study (SEARCH) and nondiabetic participants were examined during the same years of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Participants: 3953 diabetic youth and 7666 nondiabetic youth aged 3-19 yr.
Main outcome measures: Overweight was defined as body mass index (BMI) from the 85th to <95th percentile for age and sex and obesity defined as > or = 95th percentile. Diabetes type was categorized as T1DM or T2DM based on physician diagnosis.
Results: Among youth with T2DM, the prevalence of overweight was 10.4% and obesity was 79.4%. Among youth with T1DM, 22.1% were overweight. The prevalence of overweight among youth with T1DM was higher than among those without diabetes overall (22.1% vs. 16.1%) (P <.05). The obesity rate for T1DM was 12.6% overall (range Non-Hispanic White 10.7%-African-American 20.1%).
Conclusions: As expected, most of the youth with T2DM were obese. Youth with T1DM had a higher prevalence of overweight, but not of obesity, than nondiabetic youth. Future studies of obesity among youth with diabetes of all types will further our understanding of the impact of obesity on diabetes both as a risk factor and a comorbidity.