Type 2 diabetes in Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and adolescents in New South Wales

Maria E Craig, Giuseppe Femia, Vitali Broyda, Margaret Lloyd and Neville J Howard
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (10): 497-499.


Objective: To determine the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in 2001–2006 in young people < 19 years and the characteristics of T2DM in the Indigenous group.

Design and setting: Prospective population-based incidence study, New South Wales.

Participants: Primary ascertainment was from the Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group NSW Diabetes Register, with secondary ascertainment from the National Diabetes Register (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).

Main outcome measures: Incidence of T2DM in young people in NSW; incidence of T1DM and T2DM in Indigenous young people; characteristics at diagnosis.

Results: There were 128 incident cases of T2DM (62 boys, 66 girls) in the study period. The median age at diagnosis was 14.5 years (interquartile range, 13.0–16.4), and 90% were overweight or obese (body mass index > 85th percentile for age). Mean annual incidence was 2.5/100 000 person-years (95% CI, 2.1–3.0) in 10–18-year-olds. Of the ethnic groups represented, white Australian comprised 29%, Indigenous 22%, Asian 22%, North African/Middle Eastern 12% and Māori/Polynesian/Melanesian 10%. The incidence of T2DM was significantly higher in the Indigenous than the non-Indigenous group (incidence rate ratio, 6.1; 95% CI, 3.9–9.7; P < 0.001), but incidence rates of T1DM were similar (15.5 v 21.4/100 000, respectively).

Conclusions: T2DM accounts for 11% of incident cases of diabetes in 10–18-year-olds, and the majority are overweight or obese. The high rate among Indigenous Australian children supports screening for T2DM in this population.

  • Maria E Craig1,2,4
  • Giuseppe Femia2
  • Vitali Broyda3
  • Margaret Lloyd1
  • Neville J Howard1

  • 1 Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Northern Sydney / Central Coast Area Health Service, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 School of Women’s and Children’s Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.



We thank Louise Catanzariti from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Professor John Carter, Ms Maria Constantino, Dr Adam Coultzau, Ms Nikki Boyce, Mr Wayne Burgess, Dr Roger Chen, Dr Danny Harmelin, Dr Stephen Thornley, Ms Diane Roberts, Ms Chris Zingle, Mr Laurie Clay, Ms Christina Billcliffe, and the children with dia-betes and their families. The study was supported in part by an unrestricted grant from Novo Nordisk (Novo Nordisk Regional Diabetes Support Scheme Grant 2002).

Competing interests:

None identified.

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