Aims/hypothesis: This study aimed to systematically review what has been reported on the incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, to scrutinise the methodological issues observed in the included studies and to prepare recommendations for future research and surveillances.
Methods: PubMed, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Scopus, EMBASE and Web of Science were searched from inception to February 2013. Population-based studies on incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents were summarised and methodologically evaluated. Owing to substantial methodological heterogeneity and considerable differences in study populations a quantitative meta-analysis was not performed.
Results: Among 145 potentially relevant studies, 37 population-based studies met the inclusion criteria. Variations in the incidence and prevalence rates of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents were mainly related to age of the study population, calendar time, geographical regions and ethnicity, resulting in a range of 0-330 per 100,000 person-years for incidence rates, and 0-5,300 per 100,000 population for prevalence rates. Furthermore, a substantial variation in the methodological characteristics was observed for response rates (60-96%), ascertainment rates (53-99%), diagnostic tests and criteria used to diagnose type 2 diabetes.
Conclusions/interpretation: Worldwide incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents vary substantially among countries, age categories and ethnic groups and this can be explained by variations in population characteristics and methodological dissimilarities between studies.