#ADA2021 New study shows hospitalization rates for new onset pediatric type 2 diabetes doubled during covid-19 pandemic

(PRNewsFoto/American Diabetes Association)

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

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WASHINGTON, DC (June 25, 2021) – 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
• 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:
• Dr. Hsia’s poster 153-LB – Initial Presentation of Children with Type 2
Diabetes during the COVID-19 Pandemic will be made available beginning
Friday, June 25, at 11:30 a.m. ET.
• Dr. Hsia will be providing an overview of the study findings and will be available
for virtual media interviews on June 25 from 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET.
o If interested in speaking with Dr. Hsia, Register here.

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