Alabama saw an increase in new-onset Type 2 diabetes among youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results from a University of Alabama at Birmingham retrospective study using data from Children’s of Alabama showed the increase and indicated that Medicaid enrollees and males were disproportionately affected by the disease.
While the state had already been experiencing a worrisome increase, the rate of Type 2 diabetes skyrocketed during the COVID period. Prior to the start of the pandemic, the average monthly rate of new pediatric diagnoses was 11.1 new cases. After April 2020, the monthly rate increased to 19.3 new cases.
“Approximately 53 percent of all children in Alabama are enrolled in Medicaid,” said Jessica Schmitt, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at UAB and Children’s. “In addition to medications, maintaining a healthy diet and activity level are important in management of Type 2 diabetes. This can be difficult for children living in lower socioeconomic conditions.”