The findings come after other data recently showed an overall increase in diabetes incidence among youth, especially minorities.
Black children with diabetes are twice as likely as white children to die from the disease, and 3 times as likely as Hispanic children, according to data published by the CDC.
The findings, published in Friday’s edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, come amid growing concerns about rising rates of diabetes among children and greater concern about disparities. This is the first time diabetes mortality among Hispanic children and adolescents has been reported and compared with that of their white and black peers, according to CDC.
The data covered changes in death rates from 2000-2002 and 2012-2014. In 2012-2014, the data show that while there was a higher prevalence and incidence of diabetes among white children than among black children, death rates for black children with the disease were 2.04 per 1 million, while the rate for Hispanic children was 0.61 per 1 million and the rate for white children was 0.92 per 1 million. The annual death rate fell among blacks (-2.9%) and whites (-0.92%) but rose among Hispanics (0.6%).
“It is encouraging that, despite increases in diabetes prevalence and incidence among children and adolescents during the 14 years from 2000 to 2014, there was no significant increase in diabetes mortality,” the authors wrote. However, the racial and ethnic disparities persisted, and deaths were likely due to complications, the authors said.
White children were more likely to have type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disorder with stronger genetic and environmental components, in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. T1D can be more immediately life-threatening if the person experiences ketoacidosis or severe hypoglycemia. Yet more deaths from diabetes occurred among black or Hispanic children, which the researchers said suggested the reasons were “complex,” and likely included “differences in access to healthcare, health services, diabetes self- and parent-management education, and diabetes care.”
Saydah S, Imperatore G, Cheng Y, Geiss LS, Albright A. Disparities in diabetes deaths among children and adolescents—United States, 2000-2014. Morb Mort Wkly Rep. 2017; 66(19):502-505. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/pdfs/mm6619.pdf