More Australian children developing type 1 diabetes

The rate of new cases of Type 1 diabetes in children in Australia -- already high compared to other countries -- is increasing, according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report shows that around 6,100 children aged 14 years and under developed Type 1 diabetes over a seven year period, with the rate of new cases increasing significantly between 2000 and 2005 from 19 to 23 per 100,000 children.

'Type 1 diabetes does not just develop in childhood but can arise at any age,' said Louise Catanzariti, of the Institute's Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Unit.

During 1999--2005 there were just over 6,200 new cases of Type 1 diabetes in 15--39 year olds.

'The average annual rate of new cases was 17 per 100,000 for 15--19 year olds, around 13 per 100,000 for people in their twenties and nine per 100,000 for people in their mid-to-late thirties,' said Ms Catanzariti.

There were also 150 new cases of insulin-treated Type 2 diabetes in children 14 and younger, and over 700 cases among 15--24 year olds.

The report, National Diabetes Register -- a statistical profile 1999--2005, presents the latest results from Australia's National Diabetes Register (NDR), which records new cases of insulin-treated diabetes, whether Type 1, Type 2, gestational or other forms.

The report also found that death rates among NDR registrants were three times as high as death rates in the general Australian population.

The most common causes of death were cancers and diseases of the circulatory system, including coronary heart disease.

Just under half of the deceased registrants (people known to have diabetes) had diabetes listed on their death certificates as a contributing cause.

'This makes it difficult to assess the full contribution of diabetes to death rates, and suggests that diabetes is underreported on death certificates,' said Ms Catanzariti.

Diabetes is one of the leading threats to the health of Australians -- it is a large health, social and economic burden for individuals with the disease, their families and the community. It is associated with many complications and has a major impact on quality of life and life expectancy.

31 August 2007

Further information: Anne-Marie Waters, AIHW, mob. 0407 915 851; or Louise Catanzariti, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1279.

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel 61 2 6244 1032.