What Can We Do About the Alarming Increase in Type 1 Diabetes in Children?

New data shows that Type 1 diabetes diagnoses are increasing at an alarming rate in the United States, particularly among children and children of ethnic and racial minorities. However, for some reason, no one seems to be talking about it.

ASweetLife was one of the few news outlets to report on the latest developments: According to a CDC report, type 1 diabetes has increased by 30% since 2017. We're still perplexed as to why this isn't a bigger story. (Perhaps the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has our country's medical reporters preoccupied.)

The story begins with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (CDC). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released some startling statistics about the rise in Type 1 diabetes diagnosis in February. The National Diabetes Statistics Report (PDF) revealed that the overall incidence of Type 1 diabetes was increasing across the board, across all ages and ethnicities. More crucially, the rate of diagnoses among US children and adolescents has “significantly increased.” The CDC followed up with a report that goes into additional depth about the rise in youths.

Between 2002 and 2015, the number of children and adolescents increased by +1.9 percent every year. Surprisingly, “racial/ethnic minority populations” saw an even faster rate of change. T1D incidences climbed 19 percent among African-American, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Island children over the study period. Despite the fact that white children are the slowest growing population, there was still a 14 percent gain.

How? Why? The CDC report demurs: “reasons for this recent increase are unknown.”

These figures should be both mind-boggling and alarming, as they