U.S. Diabetes Cases Expected to Double or Triple by 2050

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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 (CDC).


One in 10 U.S. adults currently has diabetes. The prevalence is expected to rise sharply over the next 40 years because:

  1. An aging population is more likely to develop the disease.
  2. Ethnic populations at high risk for type 2 diabetes are expected to grow.
  3. Better treatment allows diabetics to live longer.

“These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of type 2 diabetes,” says Ann Albright, PhD, director of the 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.”

A proper diet and physical activity can reduce the risk of diabetes and help control the condition in those who already have it.

An estimated 285 million people worldwide now have diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation. As many as 438 million are predicted to have the condition by 2030. Risk factors 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.

Diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death in 2007 and is the leading cause of:

  1. New cases of blindness in adults younger than 75
  2. Kidney failure
  3. Nonaccidental leg injuries and foot amputations in adults

If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, your medical costs will likely double.

About 24 million Americans have diabetes, and 25% don’t know it.

For Your Organic Bookshelf: Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic, and What to Do About It

Photo: Alden Chadwick

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