Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Claims Rise Sharply in Pediatric Population

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robin Gelburd, JD President FAIR Health

Robin Gelburd, JD

Robin Gelburd, JD
FAIR Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: For more than 20 years, an epidemic of obesity has been contributing to increasing rates of type 2 diabetes in the United States. During at least part of that period, both conditions have been found to be rising in young people as well as adults. Using our FAIR Health database of billions of privately billed healthcare claims, we sought to ascertain recent trends in obesity and obesity-related conditions (including type 2 diabetes) in the national, privately insured, pediatric population, which we defined as spanning the ages from 0 to 22 years. Our study period was the years 2011 to 2015.

We found that claim lines with a diagnosis of obesity increased across the pediatric population during the study period. The largest increase among pediatric patients was 154 percent, in the age group 19 to 22 years. Claim lines with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis more than doubled in the pediatric population, increasing 109 percent.

In most pediatric age groups, claim lines with an obesity diagnosis occurred more often in females than in males; by contrast, claim lines with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis were more common for males than females in most pediatric age groups.

Other conditions associated with obesity also increased in claim lines among young people. The conditions included obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension, both of which were more common in claim lines for males than females.

We also compared the percent of claim lines for pediatric type 2 diabetes diagnoses to the percent of claim lines for all pediatric medical claims by state. Using that standard, pediatric type 2 diabetes was most prevalent in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Utah and South Dakota. It was least prevalent in New Hampshire, Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii and Rhode Island.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Both obesity and type 2 diabetes appeared to increase in prevalence in the pediatric, privately insured population from 2011 to 2015. Other obesity-related conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension, also appeared to rise in the same population.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further research into the epidemiology, screening, prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity and its sequelae, particularly type 2 diabetes, is warranted. There would also likely be value in studying gender differences in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes and related comorbidities. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Coordinated efforts by providers, payors, government officials and policy makers will be needed to combat obesity and type 2 diabetes in young people. We have been glad to provide data to aid in this effort.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes as Documented in Private Claims Data: Spotlight on This Growing Issue among the Nation’s Youth, A FAIR Health White Paper, FAIR Health, January 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on January 23, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD