Statement from Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D., President and CEO of JDRF, on New CDC Diabetes Data

NEW YORK, February 18, 2020 – JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, issued this statement based on two new reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates a nearly 30% increase in the number of T1D cases in the United States in the last two years, with youth cases growing most sharply among minority groups.

The CDC’s 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, cites that in the United States, T1D diagnoses included 1.4 million adults, 20 years and older, and 187,000 children younger than 20.

That totals nearly 1.6 million Americans with T1D – up from 1.25 million people – or nearly 30% from 2017.

A separate CDC report focused on T1D in youth, showed that T1D is growing most sharply in African American and Hispanic youth populations. As the reason is unknown, the CDC is advocating for continued “surveillance” of T1D in today’s youth populations.

According to the report, between 2002 and 2015:

  • T1D cases among African American children increased by 20% with 20.8 children diagnosed per 100,000
  • T1D cases among Hispanic children increased nearly 20% with 16.3 per 100,000
  • T1D cases among Asian / Pacific Island children increased 19% with 9.4 per 100,000
  • White children are the slowest growing demographic with a 14% increase, yet remain the most impacted group with 27.3 T1D cases per 100,000

The report also showed that diagnoses occurred most frequently between the ages of 5 and 14.

  • 5% were ages 10-14
  • 27% were 5-9

“The CDC’s announcement that the number of Americans living with type 1 diabetes has grown by nearly 30 percent—affecting 1.6 million adults and children—underscores the need to make an even greater impact in the fight against this disease. JDRF is leading the fight through funding innovative research and advocating for policies that accelerate access to new therapies. We are at the cusp of enormous opportunities for our community, and this report that our community is growing reinforces our urgency to improve the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes and drive toward cures and prevention of the disease,” said Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF.

T1D is a chronic, life-threatening autoimmune disease that can strike children and adults at any age. It requires rigorous 24/7 monitoring of blood glucose levels—even overnight—to avoid potentially lethal highs and lows in blood sugar, as well as other devastating complications like kidney, eye and nerve diseases. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset is sudden and is not related to diet or lifestyle. In T1D, the body’s immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, meaning the body produces little to no insulin to regulate blood sugar and get energy from food. At present, there is no way to prevent T1D nor cure it. Global estimates show that this a world-wide, growing disease with significant costs.

JDRF is the world’s largest nonprofit funder of T1D research. JDRF’s research portfolio and advocacy efforts are driving cures for T1D while advancing therapies that reduce the burden of managing the disease today and lower the risk of long-term complications. In just the last year, the T1D community has seen great process with the FDA authorization of the Tandem Control-IQ algorithm that enables the second artificial pancreas system, as well as progress toward better insulin-producing beta cells, and an immune therapy treatment, teplizumab, that was able to delay the onset of T1D for more than two years.

Learn more about JDRF’s commitment to improving the lives of those with T1D and finding cures through innovative research here.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF.