Diabetes Rates Are High and Continuing to Rise

Diabetes is a life-changing chronic disease that affects one in 100 California adolescents.1 Among adolescents living in poverty, the rate is much higher: three in 100 have been diagnosed with diabetes.2

Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, makes up 5% of diabetes cases in the United States. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is typically diagnosed in children and young adults.┬áType 2 diabetes, formerly known as adult onset diabetes, has become increasingly common among children and adolescents because of rising obesity rates. Unfortunately, too many of California’s children and youth are overweight or obese: in fact, among those living in poverty, 15% of children and 23% of adolescents are overweight or obese.3

Eating healthfully, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight are critical to preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes. Children and youth with both types of diabetes need support from families and schools in treating and managing their chronic disease, particularly if insulin therapy is needed.

To learn more, visit the American Diabetes Association webpage.

School-Based Health Centers Help Prevent and Manage Diabetes

School-based health centers (SBHCs) deliver both clinical and non-clinical services to reduce overweight and obesity and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. They also help students manage type 1 and 2 diabetes to minimize its impact.

More specifically, recent research shows that:

  • SBHCs can effectively screen students for important diabetes risk factors.4
  • Adolescents who use SBHCs get more physical activity and eat more healthy foods than do SBHC non-users.5
  • School-based telemedicine programs can provide effective diabetes management care.6

Resources for Practice

For tools to help you start and run school diabetes programs, see Diabetes Resources.

(1) California Health Interview Survey, 2007.
(2) California Health Interview Survey, 2007.
(3) California Health Interview Survey, 2007.
(4) Rafalson, L., J. Eysaman, and T. Quattrin. “Screening Obese Students for Acanthosis Nigricans and Other Diabetes Risk Factors in the Urban School-Based Health Center.” Clinical Pediatrics 50.8 (2011): 747-52.
(5) Mcnall, Miles A., Lauren F. Lichty, and Brian Mavis. “The Impact of School-Based Health Centers on the Health Outcomes of Middle School and High School Students.” Am J Public Health American Journal of Public Health 100.9 (2010): 1604-610.
(6) Izquierdo, Roberto, Philip C. Morin, Kathleen Bratt, Zoryana Moreau, Suzanne Meyer, Robert Ploutz-Snyder, Michael Wade, and Ruth S. Weinstock. “School-Centered Telemedicine for Children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.” The Journal of Pediatrics 155.3 (2009): 374-79.