Diabetes Cases Fall, While This Risk Factor Rises

May 30, 2019

The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in the United States has remained stable during the past eight years, even as obesity rates climb.

The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in the United States has remained stable during the past eight years, even as obesity rates climb.

In 2017, more than 21 million adults in the U.S. had diagnosed diabetes and over 1.3 million developed the disease, according to a report published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. The statistics run through 2017.

The report found that the prevalence of diabetes-how common age-adusted, diagnosed diabetes was during the period-did not change significantly from 1980 to 1990, between 1990 and 2009 it increased rapidly to a peak of 8.2 per 100 adults. Since that peak, however, the results through 2017 have largely plateaued.

The incidence rate-the likelihood of contracting diabetes-followed largely the same pattern. It remained steady for years and then spiked sharply. However, the incidence rate then decreased for the last eight years of the report’s studied timeframe.

“Although incidence has been decreasing in recent years, risk factors for diabetes remain high as well as the overall burden of disease,” the report lead author Stephen Benoit of the CDC, tells Managed Healthcare Executive.  

Health officials are uncertain what’s driving these trends.

Related: 3 New Approaches to Provide Individualized Diabetes Care

“Healthcare systems can support and provide lifestyle change intervention programs, such as the National Diabetes Prevention Program, to help prevent type 2 diabetes,” says Benoit.

The the National Diabetes Prevention Program is a partnership of public and private organizations working to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

“Increased screening of diabetes is also needed as well as continued self-management education programs for those who already have diabetes,” Benoit says. “These services may reduce the number of new cases of diabetes and complications of disease.”