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Diabetes Care. 2007 May;30(5):1097-101. Epub 2007 Jan 26.

Rising incidence of type 2 diabetes in children in the U.K.

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  • 1Research Division, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London, UK.



To estimate the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children <17 years of age and to investigate the relationship of diabetes with increasing childhood obesity in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland (ROI).


Active monthly reporting of cases by consultant pediatricians occurred through the framework of the British Pediatric Surveillance Unit, with additional reports from specialist diabetes nurses. All children <17 years of age and diagnosed by their clinician as having non-type 1 diabetes from 1 October 2004 to 31 October 2005 were included.


A total of 168 confirmed cases of non-type 1 diabetes were reported, resulting in a national incidence (excluding the ROI) of 1.3 x 100,000(-1) x year(-1). Of these, 40% were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes giving a minimum incidence of 0.53 x 100,000(-1) x year(-1). Children of ethnic minorities were greatly overrepresented, with those of black and South-Asian origin (England data only) having an incidence of 3.9 and 1.25 x 100,000(-1) x year(-1), respectively, compared with 0.35 x 100,000(-1) x year(-1) in those defined as white. Of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 95% were overweight and 83% obese according to International Obesity Task Force guidelines. Eighty-four percent had a family history of type 2 diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes is still less common than type 1 diabetes in U.K. children. However, compared with previous prevalence data, the frequency of type 2 diabetes appears to be increasing. Incidence among ethnic minorities is far higher than in whites, as previously described in the U.S. Increased adiposity and family history of type 2 diabetes were strongly associated with the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in U.K. children.

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