and Medicine for Seniors
Diabetes Risk Rapidly Increasing in U.S., Almost
Half Adults Likely Victims
Lifetime risk for Hispanics, black women probably
more than 50 percent
13, 2014 More than half of Hispanics and black women, and just less
than half of all adults in the U.S. are projected to develop type 2
diabetes in their lifetime, according to projections from a new study in
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
A team of US researchers combined data from
nationally representative U.S. population interviews and death
certificates for about 600 000 adults to estimate trends in the lifetime
risk of diabetes and years of life lost to diabetes in the USA between
1985 and 2011.
Over the 26 years of study, the lifetime risk of
developing type 2 diabetes for the average American 20-year-old rose
from 20% for men and 27% for women in 1985, to 40% for men and 39% for
women in 2000.
The largest increases were in Hispanic men and
women, and non-Hispanic black women, for whom lifetime risk now exceeds
"Soaring rates of diabetes since the late 1980s and
longer overall life expectancy in the general population have been the
main drivers of the striking increase in the lifetime risk of diabetes
over the last 26 years, said Dr. Edward Gregg, study leader and Chief
of the Epidemiology and Statistics Branch, Division of Diabetes
Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the same time, a large reduction in death rates
in the US population with diabetes has reduced the average number of
years lost to the disease. However, the overwhelming increase in
diabetes prevalence has resulted in an almost 50% increase in the
cumulative number of years of life lost to diabetes for the population
as a whole: years spent living with diabetes have increased by 156% in
men and 70% in women."*
He concludes, "As the number of diabetes cases
continue to increase and patients live longer there will be a growing
demand for health services and extensive costs. More effective lifestyle
interventions are urgently needed to reduce the number of new cases in
the USA and other developed nations."
Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Lorraine Lipscombe
from Women's College Hospital and the University of Toronto, Toronto,
Canada says, "The trends reported by Gregg and colleagues are probably
similar across the developed world, where large increases in diabetes
prevalence in the past two decades have been reported.
Primary prevention strategies are urgently needed.
Excellent evidence has shown that diabetes can be prevented with
lifestyle changes. However, provision of these interventions on an
individual basis might not be sustainable.
Only a population-based approach to prevention can
address a problem of this magnitude. Prevention strategies should
include optimization of urban planning, food-marketing policies, and
work and school environments that enable individuals to make healthier
lifestyle choices. With an increased focus on interventions aimed at
children and their families, there might still be time to change the
fate of our future generations by lowering their risk of type 2