OBJECTIVES: This study determined trends in diabetes prevalence among young American Indians and Alaska Natives.
METHODS: American Indian and Alaska Native children (< 15 years), adolescents (15-19 years), and young adults (20-34 years) with diabetes were identified from the Indian Health Service (IHS) outpatient database. The population living within IHS contract health service delivery areas was determined from census data.
RESULTS: From 1990 to 1998, the total number of young American Indians and Alaska Natives with diagnosed diabetes increased by 71% (4534 to 7736); prevalence increased by 46% (6.4 per 1000 to 9.3 per 1000 population). Increases in prevalence were greater among adolescents and among young men.
CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes should be considered a major public health problem among young American Indians and Alaska Natives.