The number of children and adolescents living with diabetes is increasing every year. In populations of European origin, nearly all children and adolescents affected have type 1 diabetes. In other populations, type 2 diabetes is more common in this age group.
There are currently an estimated 1.1 million children and adolescents (<20 years) living with type 1 diabetes around the world. Over 132,000 children and adolescents are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year.
There are big national and regional differences in the number of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Europe and the North America and Caribbean regions have the largest number, accounting for around half of all cases. The United States, India and Brazil, are the countries with the highest number of children and adolescents (<20 years) living with type 1 diabetes.
In countries where there is inadequate health service provision and limited access to essential diabetes medication such as insulin, children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes develop serious complications and die young.
Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents is also increasingly prevalent in some countries but reliable data is sparse. With increasing levels of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents in many countries, type 2 diabetes in this age group has the potential to become a global public health issue leading to serious health outcomes.