New Study Shows Hospitalization Rates for New Onset Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes Doubled During COVID-19 Pandemic

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New Study Shows Hospitalization Rates for New Onset Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes Doubled During COVID-19 Pandemic

Initial data indicate that children presented with higher acuity compared to the previous year 

New data show that the incidence and acuity of type 2 diabetes in children increased significantly during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more pediatric patients hospitalized from March to December 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. Findings from the retrospective chart review were presented as a late-breaking poster session at the virtual 81st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association® (ADA). 

Stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including limiting physical activity, increasing screen time and sedentary behaviors, disturbing sleep, and increasing the intake of processed foods, which can all lead to weight gain. In fact, more than one in four Americans with diabetes report the pandemic disrupted their ability to obtain healthy food—a concerning trend as modest weight gain over a short period of time can increase the risk for long-term consequences such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There is a lack of data on the incidence or severity of new-onset type 2 diabetes in the pediatric population during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study compared the number and the acuity of hospitalizations for type 2 diabetes in children from March to December 2019 and the same period in 2020 at Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA. 
The data analysis showed:

  • In 2019, the hospitalization rate for new onset type 2 diabetes was 0.27% (8 cases out of 2,964 hospitalizations) compared to 0.62% (17 out of 2,729) in 2020. 
  • Children admitted to the hospital in 2020 had more severe diabetes with higher blood glucose, higher A1C (a marker of blood sugar over three months), and higher indicators of dehydration compared to children admitted in 2019. 
  • More children in 2020 also presented with serious conditions that typically require admission to the intensive care unit compared to 2019 like diabetic ketoacidosis (eight vs. three) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic syndrome (two vs. zero).
  • 23 of 25 children were African American and 19 children were male.

“While our study examined hospital admissions for type 2 diabetes in children at one center, the results may be a microcosm of what is happening at other children’s hospitals across the country,” said Daniel S. Hsia M.D., Associate Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, and lead author of the study. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 disrupted our lives in more ways than we realize. Our study reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for children even under such difficult circumstances.” 

Research presentation details: 

For more information or to request an interview with Dr. Hsia, please contact the ADA Scientific Sessions media team at SciSessionsPress@diabetes.org.

Dr. Daniel S. Hsia MD

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About the American Diabetes Association
Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. More than 122 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).

 

About the ADA’s Scientific Sessions
The ADA’s 81st Scientific Sessions, the world’s largest scientific meeting focused on diabetes research, prevention, and care, will be held virtually June 25–29. Leading physicians, scientists, and health care professionals from around the world will unveil cutting-edge research, treatment recommendations, and advances toward a cure for diabetes. Though the conference will be remote this year, attendees will receive exclusive access to nearly 2,000 original research presentations and take part in provocative and engaging exchanges with leading diabetes experts. Learn more and register at scientificsessions.diabetes.org and join the Scientific Sessions conversation on social media using #ADA2021.