Type 2 diabetes has typically been considered a disease of older people but reports show that it is being diagnosed at younger ages than in the past. To date, this has not been explored in Australia at the national level. This paper identifies and describes national data sources for monitoring incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in children and young people and assesses their suitability for this task. This paper also presents the latest available national incidence and prevalence information from data that combined 2 national administrative data sets-the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) and the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group (APEG).
Data sources to monitor type 2 diabetes in children and young people
Data about type 2 diabetes in children and young people are available from a number of data sources in Australia, all of which have strengths and weaknesses. Survey data, such as the biomedical component of the Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS') Australian Health Survey (AHS), potentially provide an opportunity to assess the extent of undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes. However, the best ongoing data are from administrative databases:
- The NDSS database represents a high proportion of people in Australia with diagnosed diabetes.
- The APEG databases cover diagnosed diabetes in children and young people though, as these data are from individual state registers, each currently has a slightly different scope.
Number of children and young people with type 2 diabetes
- As of June 2012, there were around 31,000 people aged 10-39 diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; this was 0.3% of the population in this age group.
- Of these approximately 2,200 were aged 10-24 years.
New cases of type 2 diabetes in children and young people
- From 2002-03 to 2011-12, there were nearly 39,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes among those aged 10-39-this represented around 9% of all new cases.
- Among young people, the risk of type 2 diabetes rose with increasing age-from an average annual rate of new cases of 3 per 100,000 population in 10-14 year olds, to 8 per 100,000 for those aged 15-19 and 16 per 100,000 for those aged 20-24.
- From 2002-03 to 2011-12, there were around 4,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes among those aged 10-24-an average of nearly 400 new cases per year.
- In 2006-11, the age-specific rate of type 2 diabetes for Indigenous Australians was higher than for non-Indigenous Australians-8 times as high among 10-14 year olds and around 4 times as high for 15-19 and 20-24 year olds.
Rate of onset of type 2 diabetes in children and young people has not risen in Australia
This study found no evidence of a rise in the rate of new cases of type 2 diabetes in young people over 2002-03 to 2011-12. The rates did not change in those aged 10-19 and 30-39, and they fell in the 20-29 year group.