Diabetes Death Rate For Black Children More Than Double That Of Whites

Armen Hareyan's picture

The annual diabetes death rate for black children was more than doublethat of whites during a 25-year period, according to a study publishedon Friday in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports.


Forthe report, CDC epidemiologist Laura Polakowski and colleagues examinedthe death certificates of children ages one to 19 from 1979 to 2004 andidentified 89 deaths from diabetes. The diabetes mortality dataincluded both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Researchers found that from2003 to 2004, the diabetes death rate for blacks was 2.46 deaths perone million, compared with 0.91 deaths per one million for whites. Thediabetes death rate for blacks has been increasing steadily since 1998,while for whites it decreased significantly between 1979 and 1994, andthen leveled off from 1994 to 2004, the study said.

Many ofthe deaths were caused by acute complications such as diabeticketoacidosis, in which insulin levels are too low. Lack of treatmentfor diabetic ketoacidosis eventually can lead to death, Polakowskisaid. "These complications are readily recognizable in children anddon't require a great deal of technology to treat them," Polakowskisaid, 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 healthcare. He said that with improvements to access to care "we caneliminate the disparity" (Reinberg, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 11/15).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.