A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates the prevalence (both diagnosed and undiagnosed cases) of diabetes cases will increase from 14 percent of the U.S. population in 2010 to as high as 33 percent by 2050, while the annual incidence (new diagnosed cases) of diabetes will increase from about eight cases per 1,000 in 2008 to about 15 cases per 1,000 in 2050. According to the study’s authors, the projected increases are largely attributable to an aging population, increases in minority groups that are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, and the fact that people with diabetes are living longer.
The authors of the study include a team of researchers from the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in collaboration with David F. Williamson, PhD, visiting professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. They present a best-case scenario of 21 percent and a middle-ground scenario that projects a prevalence of 25-28 percent. The prevalence ranges reflect differing assumptions regarding how many people will develop diabetes and how long they will live after developing the disease.
Worldwide projections of diabetes are even grimmer. The International Diabetes Federation predicts a 54 percent increase in diabetes prevalence during the next 20 years, from 285 million people in 2010 to 438 million people by 2030.
“These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of type 2 diabetes,” Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, said in a CDC press release. “Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail.”
The 2002 Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial, led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has shown that lifestyle interventions such as proper diet, physical activity, coping skills, and group support systems reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in higher-risk populations. The study authors agree that these interventions can be effective but say they will not eliminate increases in diabetes prevalence. To that extent, CDC and its partners are working on a variety of initiatives to prevent type 2 diabetes and to reduce its complications. CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, which launched in April, is designed to bring evidence-based programs for preventing type 2 diabetes to communities.
Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2006 and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, kidney failure, neuropathy, and non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among adults. According to 2007 figures, people with diagnosed diabetes have medical costs that are more than twice that of those who do not have the disease. The total costs associated with diabetes are an estimated $174 billion annually, including $116 billion in direct medical costs. About 24 million people in the United States have diabetes, and one-quarter of them do not know they have it.
For a full copy of the report, click here.
Editor’s note: This story has been adapted from materials provided by the CDC.