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Type 2 Diabetes Cases Rising in Young Adults Globally


The global burden of type 2 diabetes among young people significantly rose since 1990, researchers reported.

Drawing on data from 204 countries and territories, the age-standardized incidence of type 2 diabetes from 1990 to 2019 increased from 117.22 to 183.36 per 100,000, Fan Wang, PhD, of Harbin Medical University in China, and colleagues said in their study in The BMJ.

On top of this, the age-standardized disability-adjusted life years (DALY) from type 2 diabetes likewise saw a significant rise from 106.34 to 149.61 per 100,000 over the 30-year study period.

Although the age-standardized mortality rate for early-onset type 2 diabetes didn’t significantly change, there was still a modest increase, rising from 0.74 to 0.77 per 100,000 from 1990 to 2019.

When compared with poorer countries, high sociodemographic regions saw a much faster uptick in early-onset diabetes cases. This was marked by an average 1.99% annual increase for high sociodemographic regions versus 1.38% for low sociodemographic regions during this time frame. DALY also rose by an average of 2.01% annually in high sociodemographic countries versus a 0.70% change for low sociodemographic countries.

Over this 30-year span, areas of western Europe and southern Latin America were hotspots for the fastest increases in early-onset type 2 diabetes cases. More specifically, the U.K. and Canada were the countries with the fastest increase in incidence rate.

A few trends emerged during the 30-year follow-up in regards to exactly which groups of people saw the biggest uptick in new diabetes cases.

Overall, women tended to have a higher diabetes-related mortality rate and DALY compared with men for those younger than age 30. However, this pattern switched after the age of 30, but only in countries with middle or high sociodemographic indexes.

The highest incident rate and DALY rate for early-onset diabetes cases was consistently seen among countries defined as a “low-middle” and “middle” sociodemographic index. On the other hand, the lowest incidence rate was observed in countries with the lowest sociodemographic index. These countries also had the highest diabetes-related mortality rates. This pattern followed an inverse U-shaped curve, the researchers explained.

But regardless of a country’s sociodemographic index, the predominant risk factor for DALY was an elevated body mass index (BMI). Globally, 67.65% of early-onset type 2 diabetes DALYs were attributable to a high BMI. When the researchers looked at just high-income countries, high BMI accounted for 84.42% of early-onset type 2 diabetes DALYs.

The second most prevalent risk factor for DALY was ambient particulate matter pollution (13.39%). Some of the other global risk factors were household air pollution from solid fuels, smoking, secondhand smoke, and a variety of dietary factors.

“Early onset type 2 diabetes is a growing health problem globally, especially in countries with a low-middle and middle sociodemographic index,” Wang and co-authors wrote, adding that women under age 30 especially need focused interventions to curb the rising rates.

“Weight control is essential in reducing the burden of early onset type 2 diabetes, but countries should establish specific policies to deal with this problem more effectively,” the researchers added.

Data for the systemic analysis came from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, which included individuals between the ages of 15 and 39 from 204 countries and territories, including the U.S.

  • Kristen Monaco is a staff writer, focusing on endocrinology, psychiatry, and nephrology news. Based out of the New York City office, she’s worked at the company since 2015.

Disclosures

The study was supported by grants from the National Nature Science Foundation of China, Dr. Wu Lien Teh Science Foundation of Harbin Medical University, and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.

Wang and co-authors reported no disclosures.



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