According to a new study, researchers examined the number of cases of type 2 diabetes among children in the United Kingdom rose during the past decade, with evidence of an increasing trend among girls and children of South Asian ethnicity. The study has published in Diabetic Medicine.

“Type 2 diabetes in young people is an aggressive disease. Those at higher risk of type 2 diabetes are the obese with a first degree, family history of type 2 diabetes, of non-white ethnicity and female. A third of cases were asymptomatic and detected on obesity screening investigations, highlighting the importance of screening for type 2 diabetes in higher risk children.”

Incidence was defined as the number of new cases per population during 1 year. Researchers used Poisson regression models to compare type 2 diabetes incidence rates in different groups, using Ethnic Group by Age in England and Wales 2011 data. Overall U.K. type 2 diabetes incidences in children for 2015 were compared with corresponding rates for 2005 using incidence rate ratio.

Researchers identified 106 newly confirmed cases between May 2016 and April 2016, with 67% of cases among girls. Median age at diagnosis was 14 years, 44% of children were white and 65% were Asian or of Asian-British descent. Among children diagnosed, 81% had a family history of type 2 diabetes, with a first-degree relative in 70% of cases.

Researchers determined the national U.K. incidence of type 2 diabetes in children was 0.72 per 100,000, based on the estimated U.K. population of 13,008,432 in mid-2015. South Asian children (incidence rate, 2.92 per 100,000) and black children (incidence rate, 1.67 per 100,000) had a higher incidence rate of type 2 diabetes vs. white children (incidence rate, 0.44 per 100,000).

Researchers also observed a trend toward increased incidence of type 2 diabetes (incidence rate ratio = 1.35; 95% CI, 0.99-1.84); however, the number did not rise to statistical significance. Researchers observed evidence that incidence increased among girls (P = .03) and South Asian children (P = .01) during the decade.

“It is important to understand why some children with obesity develop type 2 diabetes and others do not,” Candler said. “Developing a better understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease is very important in order to produce strategies for prevention and treatment. It is important to establish the best way to manage and engage young people with type 2 diabetes due to the poor outcomes in those diagnosed at a young age.

Author concludes, where the results of the 1-year follow up of these cases will bring valuable insights into variables associated with clinical outcomes (eg, HbA1c and associated complications) and may help inform future treatment strategies.