Characteristics and Needs of Children and Adolescents Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Santa Clara County, California
Objective: The study objectives were to examine the characteristics and perceived needs of children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Design: Data were gathered via self-administered questionnaires pertaining to demographics, family history of type 2 diabetes, physical characteristics, lifestyle/exercise behaviors, dietary behaviors and interests in meeting other youth with type 2 diabetes. Subjects and their parents/guardians were asked to complete separate questionnaires and afterwards, each youth participated in a follow-up interview related to diabetes management. Subjects: Participants (N=14) were obtained from a population of youth diagnosed with type 2 diabetes seeking medical care at the Kaiser Santa Teresa Pediatric Endocrine Clinic in Santa Clara, CA. Eleven of the subjects were Latino (79%) and the remaining 3 were Asian American (21%). Subjects ranged in age from 10 to 18 years with a mean age of 13.8 ± 2.3 years. The mean age at diagnosis was 12.7 ± 2.3 years with a range from eightand-a-half years to 17 years when first diagnosed. The mean body mass index (BMI) of the participants was 33.5 ± 6.2 kg/m2 . Statistical Analysis: Descriptive statistics were utilized for all analyses including discrete and continuous data to determine counts, percentages, means, and standard deviations. Results: The youth characteristics in the present study were consistent with previous studies that have examined the demographics, physical characteristics, and family history of type 2 diabetes among youth in the United States. Acanthosis nigricans, a hyperinsulinemic condition, was present in 10 of the 14 (71%) of the youth and most were overweight or obese with a mean BMI of 33.5 ± 6.2 kg/m2 . A positive family history for diabetes was evident in most subjects, however, this positive history did not lead to an increase in diabetes knowledge among youth. Most youth subjects were sedentary and were more likely to make dietary changes than exercise changes to manage their diabetes. Interests in attending youth summer camps or family camps geared towards diabetes education were quite high. As the characteristics and diabetes risk factors of type 2 diabetes among youth continue to be identified, and as it continues to increase in this population, culturally appropriate prevention programs will need to be designed and implemented to address the needs of this unique population.