For more than two decades, an epidemic of obesity in the United States has been cited as contributing to rising rates of type 2 diabetes, and, alarmingly, both conditions have been increasing among the nation's youth. A study of five years of healthcare insurance claims records by FAIR Health, a national, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to transparency in healthcare costs and health insurance information, confirms this concerning trend. FAIR Health analyzed data from its database of billions of privately billed healthcare claims to identify trends and patterns from 2011 to 2015 in obesity, type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related conditions in the nation's privately insured youth. As obesity rates have increased in children, adolescents and young adults, FAIR Health data show that type 2 diabetes also has increased in that population. Among the findings: (1) The percent of claim lines with an obesity diagnosis increased annually in all age groups, from infants and toddlers to adults; (2) In the age group 19 to 22 years, the increase in obesity claim lines was 154 percent; (3) The percent of claim lines with a type 2 diabetes diagnosis more than doubled in the pediatric population (ages 0-22), increasing 109 percent; (4) In most pediatric age groups, females were diagnosed more frequently with obesity than males, but males were more frequently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than females; and (5) Two conditions that are obesity-related, obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension, rose in the pediatric population by 161 percent and 67 percent, respectively.
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