The aim of the study was to determine age- and race-related, and overall incidence rates of insulin-requiring diabetes in adults in the US military.
Electronic records for admissions to US military and Tricare hospitals during 1990–2005 and visits to military clinics during 2000–2005 were identified using the Career History Archival Medical and Personnel System at the Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA, USA. Population data were obtained from the Defense Manpower Data Center and Defense Medical Epidemiology Database.
In men there were 2,918 new cases of insulin-requiring diabetes in 20,427,038 person-years at ages 18–44 years (median age 28 years) for a total age-adjusted incidence rate of 17.5 per 100,000 person-years (95% CI 16.4–18.6). Incidence rates were twice as high in black men as in white men (31.5 vs 14.5 per 100,000, p < 0.001). In women there were 414 new cases in 3,285,000 person-years at ages 18–44 years (median age 27 years), for a total age-adjusted incidence rate of 13.6 per 100,000 (95% CI 12.4–14.9). Incidence rates were twice as high in black women as in white women (21.8 vs 9.7 per 100,000, p < 0.001). In a regression model, incidence of insulin-requiring diabetes peaked annually in the winter–spring season (OR 1.46, p < 0.01). Race and seasonal differences persisted in the multivariate analysis.
Differences in incidence rates by race and season suggest a need for further research into possible reasons, including the possibility of a contribution from vitamin D deficiency. Cohort studies using prediagnostic serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D should be conducted to further evaluate this relationship.