Ethnic Minorities Are at Greater Risk for Childhood-Onset Type 2 Diabetes and Poorer Glycemic Control in England and Wales

J Adolesc Health. 2016 Sep;59(3):354-361. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.05.012. Epub 2016 Jul 15.


Purpose: Ethnic minority children are at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, current prevalence of T2D among children and young people is unknown in England and Wales. In addition, little is known on glycemic control in pediatric T2D globally.

Methods: Using data from the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit for 2012-2013 with >98% coverage of diabetes cases, we estimated (1) the overall, gender- and ethnic-specific prevalence of T2D in children and young people <16 years and (2) whether ethnicity predicts glycemic control (measured by mean HbA1c) in children and young people <19 years. Ethnicity was self-identified and categorized into white, Asian, black, mixed, other, and "not stated." Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate differences in glycemic control by ethnicity adjusting for socioeconomic status, age, diabetes duration, and gender.

Results: A total of 307 children and young people aged <16 years were identified with T2D in the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit for 2012-2013. Overall prevalence of T2D was 2.9/100,000. Females had a higher prevalence of T2D than males (4.3 vs. 1.5/100,000). The highest prevalence was found in Asian (12.2/100,000) followed by mixed ethnicity (4.4/100,000) females. Children of mixed ethnicity had significantly higher mean HbA1c compared with white children (9.7% [83 mmol/mol] vs. 7.8% [62 mmol/mol], p < .001, and adjusted mean difference of 4.2% [22.3 mmol/mol], 95% confidence interval = 3.1%-5.2% [10.9-33.7 mmol/mol]), but there were no significant differences between the other ethnic minority groups.

Conclusions: Children of all ethnic minorities particularly females have an increased prevalence of T2D. Those belonging to mixed ethnic backgrounds are at increased risk for poorer glycemic control.

Keywords: Adolescence; Childhood; England; Ethnicity; Glycemic control; HbA(1c); Prevalence; Type 2 diabetes; Wales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • England / epidemiology
  • Ethnic Groups
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Wales / epidemiology


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human