Diabetes Death Rate for Black Children More Than Double That of Whites, Report Finds
The annual diabetes death rate for black children was more than double that of whites during a 25-year period, according to a study published on Friday in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports.
For the report, CDC epidemiologist Laura Polakowski and colleagues examined the death certificates of children ages one to 19 from 1979 to 2004 and identified 89 deaths from diabetes. The diabetes mortality data included both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that from 2003 to 2004, the diabetes death rate for blacks was 2.46 deaths per one million, compared with 0.91 deaths per one million for whites. The diabetes death rate for blacks has been increasing steadily since 1998, while for whites it decreased significantly between 1979 and 1994, and then leveled off from 1994 to 2004, the study said.
Many of the deaths were caused by acute complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis, in which insulin levels are too low. Lack of treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis eventually can lead to death, Polakowski said. "These complications are readily recognizable in children and don't require a great deal of technology to treat them," Polakowski said, adding, "The rate of death among black children can be lower, because there is a lower rate among white children."
Larry Deeb, past president for medicine and science at the American Diabetes Association, attributed the disparity to black children's lack of access to health care. He said that with improvements to access to care "we can eliminate the disparity" (Reinberg, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 11/15).
The report is available online.