Mayer-Davis receives funding for SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study

The nation’s largest study of childhood diabetes has been funded again for five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, marking the beginning of the study’s 11th year of assessing the impact of diabetes on the health and well-being of youth.

Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis

Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis

 Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis

The study, SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, is led by Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

“In the first decade of this study, we have documented higher-than-expected rates of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children of all races, but particularly among African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians,” Mayer-Davis said. “It’s even more concerning that youth with either form of diabetes have worse cardiovascular disease risk profiles than youth without diabetes.”

Since 2000, researchers have been studying the prevalence, incidence and clinical characteristics of diabetes in people under age 20, collecting data on five racial/ethnic groups – non-Hispanic whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indians. Six study sites – located in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington – have identified more than 10,000 youth with diabetes. The study already has made important contributions to the field in showing how types 1 and 2 differ (including by age, race/ethnicity, and biological markers), learning more about complications of diabetes in children and youth, investigating the different types of care and medical treatment they receive and how diabetes affects their everyday lives.

“The SEARCH study will help us better understand diabetes in children and youth,” Mayer-Davis said, “and will provide valuable information to other researchers and health care providers as we all look for better ways to prevent and treat the disease in this population.”

The study has two components. The cohort study follows participants for five or more years, from baseline visit. Data is collected on factors including eye and kidney health, risk factors for heart disease, serious acute complications, barriers to care, quality of care and transition from pediatric to adult care. The registry study is a surveillance of trends in incidence of diabetes by diabetes type, race/ethnicity, age and gender.

Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Colorado, is co-principal investigator of the study.

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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or