DefinitionDiabetes prevalence among Utah youth refers to the rate of diabetes among Utah youth less than 18 years of age.
NumeratorPopulation less than 18 years of age who were reported to have been diagnosed with diabetes. (Reported by knowledgeable adult in the household in the Utah Healthcare Access Survey.)
DenominatorTotal Utah population less than 18 years of age.
Why Is This Important?Prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes has increased among youth less than 18 years of age. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. This type of diabetes most often develops during childhood, particularly around the age of puberty. With type 2 diabetes, insulin is still produced but it is not used efficiently, allowing high levels of glucose to be spilled into the bloodstream. Although the reason for the increase in type 1 diabetes is not well understood, much of the increase in type 2 diabetes among youth can be explained by the increase in the number of children who are overweight or obese, or at risk for being overweight or obese.
Diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and amputation. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the chance for complications to develop. Therefore, diabetes that develops at young ages is a major health concern.
Youth with diabetes are at particular risk for ketoacidosis, a condition in which blood glucose levels rise to a dangerously high level. Ketoacidosis is an emergency situation that can lead to coma and death without immediate attention.
Other ObjectivesThe Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program subscribes to the importance of reversing the trend of rising obesity in youth. Healthy People 2010 Objective 19-3, "Reduce the proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight or obese," underscores the importance of this issue, recommending a target of having five percent or less of children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 who are overweight or obese.
How Are We Doing?The overall prevalence of diabetes among Utah youth, the majority of whom have type 1 diabetes, increased gradually between 1991 (a rate of 2 per 1,000 youth less than 18) and 1996 (a rate of 3 per 1,000 youth less than 18). The most recent data indicates that the estimated percentage has not increased significantly and remains at 3 per 1,000 (2006-2008 Utah Healthcare Access Survey).
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?National prevalence of diabetes is estimated to be 2.2 cases per 1,000 individuals under the age of 20 (American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Statistics 2006: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-statistics.jsp). The estimated prevalence of diabetes for the age group less than 18 in Utah is slightly higher, at about 3 (2.7) per 1,000 (0.2%-0.36%) (2006-2008 Utah Healthcare Access Survey).
What Is Being Done?The Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program strives to prevent diabetes in children, and to ensure proper care for those who have developed it. The Program strives to encourage healthful behaviors among youth, primarily through community organizations.
Health Program InformationThe Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program (HDSPP) has established the Gold Medal School Initiative for elementary schools throughout the state to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce the risk of overweight among students. Currently more than 300 Utah schools participate in the Gold Medal Schools progam (http://www.hearthighway.org/gms/index.htm).