We examined young adults with and young adults without diabetes by using demographic data and cardiometabolic risk profiles and compared the risk profiles of younger versus older (aged ≥45 years) adults with diabetes.
Data were obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2016. Diabetes was defined by self-report of health care provider diagnosis or by A1C levels of 6.5% or higher among those without a self-reported diagnosis. The cardiometabolic risk profile included adiposity, blood pressure, serum lipids, healthy eating, physical activity (PA), and exposure to tobacco smoke. Adjusted difference in difference was calculated as the difference among younger adults with and younger adults without diabetes minus the difference among older adults with and older adults without diabetes.
Adults with diabetes in both age-groups had higher levels of adiposity, hypertension, and cholesterol and lower levels of healthy eating and leisure-time PA. However, the differences in high cholesterol and adiposity by diabetes status were greater among young adults compared with older adults after adjustment for demographics and health insurance status. Elevated lipids were 9.6 percentage points higher (95% CI 4.6, 14.5) and obesity was 37.3 percentage points higher (95% CI 31.8, 42.7) among young adults with diabetes compared with those without diabetes than among older adults with diabetes compared with those without diabetes.
Young adults with diabetes have high rates of cardiometabolic risk factors, which can lead to an increased disease prevalence and mortality rate among these individuals as they age.