WASHINGTON - Number of Americans with diabetes projected to double or triple by 2050
Older, more diverse population and longer lifespans contribute to
As many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current
trends continue, according to a new analysis from the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
One in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes now. 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 groups that are
at high risk for type 2 diabetes, and people with diabetes living
longer, according to CDC projections published in the journal Population
Health Metrics. Because the study factored in aging, minority
populations and lifespan, the projections are higher than previous
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. RD, 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."
Proper diet and physical activity can reduce the risk of diabetes and
help to control the condition in people with diabetes. Effective
prevention programs directed at groups at high risk of type 2 diabetes
can considerably reduce future increases in diabetes prevalence, but
will not eliminate them, the report says.
The projection that one-third of all U.S. 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 U.S. 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.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, family
history, having diabetes while pregnant, a sedentary lifestyle and
race/ethnicity. Groups at higher risk for the disease are
African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and some
Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.
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. The program supports establishing a network of lifestyle
intervention programs for overweight or obese people at high risk of
developing type 2 diabetes. These interventions emphasize dietary
changes, coping skills and group support to help participants lose 5
percent to 7 percent of their body weight and get at least 150 minutes
per week of moderate physical activity. The program is working with 28
sites across the United States offering group lifestyle interventions
with plans to expand to additional sites in the future.
The Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial, led by the National
Institutes of Health, has shown that those measures can reduce the risk
of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people at higher risk of
Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2007, and is the
leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75,
kidney failure, and non-accident/injury leg and foot amputations among
adults. People with diagnosed diabetes have medical costs that are more
than twice that of those without the disease. The total costs of
diabetes are an estimated $174 billion annually, including $116 billion
in direct medical costs. About 24 million Americans have diabetes, and
one-quarter of them do not know they have it.