Number of Children With Type 2 Diabetes Increased Following Covid-19 Pandemic


Type 2 diabetes cases among children increased in the year following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Chicago.

The study suggests that factors such as school closures, reduced physical activity, and unhealthy eating habits during the pandemic may have contributed to increased weight gain and thus a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes among young people.

According to a survey published by Healthy Ireland in 2020, over 800,000 people over the age of 40 in Ireland are estimated to either have, or be at risk of developing, type 2 diabetes. Ireland does not have a diabetes register – so precise figures for total diabetes sufferers are difficult to determine.

The research team, which included doctors from the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, conducted a retrospective chart review at a tertiary children’s hospital to analyse the rise in the proportion of diabetes cases among new-onset diabetes patients during the second year of the pandemic.

The team identified patients aged zero to 18 who were diagnosed with either new-onset type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes using an electronic medical record database.

The study period was divided into four years: pre-pandemic years one and two (March 1, 2018, to February 28, 2020) and pandemic years three and four (March 1, 2020, to February 28, 2022).

The findings revealed a notable increase in new cases of both types of diabetes.

The annual frequency of new-onset type 1 diabetes cases increased from 191 in year one to 262 in year four.

Similarly, new-onset type 2 diabetes cases rose from 63 in year one to 130 in year four.

The findings indicate that the rise in the proportion of diabetes cases among children has extended beyond the initial year of the Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting that factors unrelated to pandemic-related restrictions and lifestyle changes are also contributing to this increase.

Source: Irish Medical Times


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