CDC Projects Potential for Sharp Rise in Diabetes Prevalence

WASHINGTON, DC—As many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050, according to CDC.

While one in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes now, CDC projects that the prevalence is expected to rise sharply over the next 40 years, due to an aging population more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, increases in minority that are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, and people with diabetes living longer.

The analysis was published in the journal Population Health Metrics. Because the study factored in aging, minority populations and lifespan, the projections are higher than previous estimates.

The report predicts that the number of new diabetes cases each year will increase from 8 per 1,000 people in 2008, to 15 per 1,000 in 2050. The report estimates that the number of Americans with diabetes will range from 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 by 2050. That range reflects differing assumptions about how many people will develop diabetes, and how long they will live after developing the disease.

“These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of type 2 diabetes,” said Ann Albright, PhD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “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 projection that one-third of all US adults will have diabetes by 2050 assumes that recent increases in new cases of diabetes will continue and people with diabetes will also live longer, which adds to the total number of people with the disease.

Projected increases in US diabetes prevalence also reflect the growth in the disease internationally. An estimated 285 million people worldwide had diabetes in 2010, according to the International Diabetes Federation. The federation predicts as many as 438 million will have diabetes by 2030.

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