More Ontario Children are Getting Diagnosed with Diabetes

June 2009 - Ontario children are more likely to get diagnosed with diabetes than their American counterparts. A study out of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) has found a 3 per cent increase per year in the rate of diabetes in Ontario children from 1994 to 2004.

Childhood diabetes is a chronic disease that can cause major health problems. Most children with diabetes have Type 1, where their pancreas does not make insulin. But a growing number of children are getting diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, in which the body produces enough insulin but is resistant to its effect, usually because of genetic disposition and obesity.

"It is concerning that we are seeing more children in Ontario diagnosed with this serious chronic disease - we need to better understand why this happening and ensure that adequate healthcare resources are available to diagnose and treat these children and youth," says principal investigator and ICES Scientist, Dr. Astrid Guttmann.

The study of all Ontario children from 1994 to 2004 found:

  • Overall, rates of diabetes in Ontario are higher than those reported in the U.S. but in the same range of countries with similar latitude.
  • From 1994 to 2004 there has been an increase of approximately 3 per cent annually in the rate of diabetes in children of all ages.
  • The highest incidence rate is in 10-to 14-year-olds.
  • Some of this difference may be due to genetic susceptibility but also environmental changes, such as the rise in obesity amongst children.
  • The incidence overall has gone from 24.5/100,000 in 1994 to 32.3/100,000 in 2003

"More work needs to be done to track Type 1 versus Type 2 diabetes as diagnosis and management strategies are very different, and clearly we need to better understand why this disease is becoming more common amongst children," says Guttmann.

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Author affiliations: ICES (Guttmann, To, Cauch-Dudek,Wang, Lam, Hux ); Division of Paediatric Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children (Guttmann); Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, U of T (Guttmann, Daneman); Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, U of T (Guttmann, To, Hux, Daneman); Division of Endocrinology, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Nakhla); Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University (Henderson); Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children (To, Daneman); Dalla Lana School of Public Health, U of T (To); Division of Endocrinology, The Hospital for Sick Children, (Daneman).

The study "Validation of a health administrative data algorithm for assessing the epidemiology of diabetes in Canadian children" is in the June, 2009 issue of Pediatric Diabetes.

Source: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences