The issue: Chronic illnesses such as diabetes present ongoing challenges to healthcare providers, insurers and the general public. Previous research on American healthcare spending suggests diabetes is the nation’s costliest illness, with expenditures reaching approximately $101.4 billion in 2013. The prevalence of diabetes is increasing for Americans of all ages, partly because of growing national obesity rates. Obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by an inability to effectively produce and use insulin the body makes to manage blood glucose levels, are linked. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the body’s lack of insulin due to autoimmune attacks on beta cells in the pancreas.
Though diagnoses of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are on the rise, there are variations in how different groups are affected by this broader trend. A new study suggests that the incidence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes has increased for minority youths more than for their non-Hispanic white peers.