Prevalence Of Diabetes Rose 5% Annually Since 1990

Armen Hareyan's picture

Study shows that the prevalence of diabetes rose 5% annually since 1990, and trends in incidence were consistent with the prevalence data.

"The growth in diabetes prevalence and incidence accelerated in the early 1990s and this acceleration remains unabated," said Linda S. Geiss, MA, Chief of Diabetes Surveillance, Diabetes Program, Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a recent interview. "It is likely tied to the growth in obesity in this country, and if we are going to stem the growing burden of diabetes, we must improve our prevention efforts."


Nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, a group of serious diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin. Diabetes can lead to severely debilitating or fatal complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, involves insulin resistance - the body's inability to properly use its own insulin. Type 2 used to occur mainly in adults who were overweight and ages 40 and older. Now, as more children and adolescents in the United States become overweight and inactive, type 2 diabetes is occurring more often in young people.

The study used data from the 1963-2005 National Health Interview Survey to obtain nationally representative age-adjusted prevalence and incidence rates and their standard errors.

The researchers identified three distinct periods in the rate of existing diabetes in the population at a given time.