Global Health

Type 2 Diabetes Increased in Young Adult Population Globally Over 30 Years

Jessica Ganga

Type 2 diabetes has been a growing global burden in adolescents and young adults during the past 30 years, according to a recent study.

The researchers conducted a systematic analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, where they looked at data from 204 countries and territories from 1990 to 2019. Participants in the study were aged between 15 and 39 years.

Increases were observed in age standardized incidence rate (per 100,000 population) and age standardized disability adjusted life year (DALY) rate (per 100,000 population) for type 2 diabetes. Age standardized incidence rate rose from 117.22 in 1990 to 183.36 in 2019. And age standardized DALY rate increased from 106.34 to 149.61. Additionally, the researchers analyzed the rise of the age standardize mortality rate, which they found went from 0.74 in 1990 to 0.77 in 2019.

Further, the researchers grouped the data by different sociodemographic indexes globally. When they did so, they found that countries with low-middle and middle sociodemographic indexes had the highest age standardized incidence rate and age standardized DALY rate in 2019 compared with countries with a low sociodemographic index. From their data, the researchers found that women 30 years of age or younger had a higher mortality rate and DALY rate than men in the same age group.

The main risk factor observed for early onset type 2 diabetes was high BMI in all regions of the sociodemographic index. Other risk factors included air pollution, smoking, household air pollution, and a diet low in fruit.

Several limitations were noted by the authors of the study, including the results being subject to the methodological defects of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. When the data were not available to the researchers, they depended on the out-of-sample predictive validity of the modeling efforts. Although techniques were used to reduce bias in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019, the authors note bias cannot fully be ruled out.

“Early onset type 2 diabetes is a growing health problem globally, especially in countries with a low-middle and middle sociodemographic index,” the researchers concluded. “The variable attributable risk factors for type 2 diabetes in adolescents and young adults in countries with different levels of socioeconomic development highlight the importance of specific measures to deal with this growing global health problem.”



Xie J, Wang M, Long, Long, Z, et al. Global burden of type 2 diabetes in adolescents and young adults, 1990-2019: systematic analysis of the Global Burden Disease Study 2019. Brit Med J. Published online December 7, 2022. doi:10.1136/bmj-2022-072385