Since the American Diabetes Association (ADA) published the Position Statement “Care of Children and Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes” (1) in 2005, innovations have transformed the landscape and management of type 1 diabetes: novel autoantibodies, sophisticated devices for delivering insulin and measuring glucose, and diabetes registries. However, strategies to prevent or delay type 1 diabetes in youth remain elusive, and meanwhile the number of affected children continues to grow. The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth (SEARCH) study found a 21.1% rise in the prevalence of type 1 diabetes from 2001 to 2009 in youth aged 0 through 19 years, with increases observed in all sex, age, and race/ethnic subgroups except those with the lowest prevalence (0–4 years old and American Indians) (2). Incidence has also increased; the adjusted risk for developing type 1 diabetes increased 1.4% annually between 2002 and 2012, with significant increases in all age-groups except those 0–4 years old (3).
One theme of this Position Statement is that “children are not little adults”—pediatric-onset diabetes is different from adult diabetes because of its distinct epidemiology, pathophysiology, developmental considerations, and response to therapy (4,5). Diabetes management for children must not be extrapolated from adult diabetes care. In caring for children and adolescents, clinicians need to be mindful of the child’s evolving developmental stages and must adapt care to the child’s needs and circumstances. Timely anticipatory guidance and care coordination will enable a seamless child/adolescent/young adult transition for both the developing patient and his or her family.
Although the ADA stopped developing new position statements in 2018 (6), this Position Statement was developed under the 2017 criteria (7) and provides recommendations for current standards of care for youth (children and adolescents) with type 1 diabetes. It is not intended to be an exhaustive compendium on all aspects of disease management, nor does it discuss type 2 diabetes in youth, which is the subject of an ADA Position Statement currently under review. While adult clinical trials produce robust evidence that has advanced care and improved outcomes (8), pediatric clinical trials remain scarce. Therefore, the majority of pediatric recommendations are not based on large, randomized clinical trials (evidence level A) but rely on supportive evidence from cohort/registry studies (B or C) or expert consensus/clinical experience (E) (Table 1). Please refer to the ADA’s “Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes” for updates to these recommendations (professional.diabetes.org/SOC).