Prevalence of Diabetes, Prediabetes Increased Among US Adolescents

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The prevalence of diabetes in adolescents was 0.8%, of which 29% was undiagnosed.
The prevalence of diabetes in adolescents was 0.8%, of which 29% was undiagnosed.

The prevalence of diabetes among adolescents, the percentage of those with prediabetes, and the percentage of those who are unaware of their diabetes may be higher than previously reported, according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Andy Menke, PhD, from Social & Scientific Systems in Silver Spring, Maryland, and colleagues estimated the prevalence of diabetes among US adolescents using data from the 2004 to 2014 National Health Examination Survey (NHANES). The survey included 2606 adolescents aged 12 to 19 years who were randomly selected for a morning examination after fasting.

The results showed that 62 adolescents had diabetes, 20 were undiagnosed, and 512 had prediabetes. The weighted prevalence of diabetes was 0.8% (95% CI, 0.6-1.1), of which 28.5% was undiagnosed (95% CI, 16.4-44.8), and the prevalence rate of prediabetes was 17.7% (95% CI, 15.8-19.8).

The researchers also found that prediabetes was more common among adolescent males than females (22.0% vs 13.2%). The percentage of adolescents with undiagnosed diabetes and the prediabetes prevalence were higher in non-Hispanic black participants (49.9% and 21.0%, respectively) and Hispanic participants (39.5% and 22.9%, respectively) compared with non-Hispanic white participants (4.6% and 15.1%, respectively).

Overall, the prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes did not change over time between 2005 and 2014 (P=.44).

“The estimates are higher than previously reported; 1 study found diagnosed diabetes in 0.34% of participants aged 10 to 19 years,” the authors of the study wrote.

“A relatively large proportion was unaware of the condition, particularly among non-Hispanic black participants and Hispanic participants, indicating a need for improved diabetes screening among adolescents. These findings may have important public health implications because diabetes in youth is associated with early onset of risk factors and complications.”

Disclosures: The study was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.


  1. Menke A, Casagrande S, Cowie CC. Prevalence of diabetes in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years in the United States, 2005-2014. JAMA. 2016;316(3):344-345. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8544.
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