Childhood Type 1 diabetes 'moderate to high' in Australia-report

Australia is ranked alongside countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom in having a moderate to high incidence of Type 1 diabetes among children aged under 15, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, National Diabetes Register: Statistical Profile, December 2001, shows that over the 2000-2001 two-year period, 1,565 new cases of Type 1 diabetes in children aged under 15 were recorded on the Register.

This equates to an annual incidence rate of around 19 new cases per 100,000 population in this age group, similar to countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, which had 20 and 18 new cases per 100,000 population respectively.

The National Diabetes Register-established to help combat diabetes as a major health concern for Australians-is part of the National Diabetes Strategy.

The Register collects information about people with insulin-treated diabetes who started using insulin since the beginning of 1999. Insulin-treated diabetes can include Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, as well as gestational and other types of diabetes. Around 22,600 people registered with the NDR in the 1999-2001 period.

AIHW spokesperson Anne-Marie Waters said that the annual rate of 19 new cases per 100,000 population aged under 15 years was 'higher than previous estimates, while also being in line with other studies reporting a rising incidence of diabetes in Australia'.

'The findings also tell us there are high death rates among people with diabetes who use insulin. The death rate for NDR registrants was between two and four times that of the general Australian population.'

'Almost all the people who had died since joining the Register were aged 50 years or more, suggesting that they suffered from Type 2 diabetes.'

Other findings from the report include:

  • Women strongly outnumber men on the Register in the 25-44 years age group-reflecting the effect of gestational diabetes in women in this age group.
  • More than 60% of registrants are aged 45 years and over.
  • About 60% of registrants had Type 2 diabetes, 29% had Type 1 diabetes, and 7% had gestational diabetes.

Ms Waters said that the AIHW welcomed approaches from researchers to use information from the Register, which was available subject to ethical clearance.


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