The incidence of diabetes is rising quickly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but just what’s causing the increase is difficult to determine.
The CDC study, published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows dramatic increases in diagnosis between 1995 and 2010.
“Increasing incidence might be the result of many factors, including changes in diagnostic criteria, enhanced detection of undiagnosed diabetes, demographic changes in the U.S. population (e.g., aging of the population and growth of minority populations that are at greater risk for diabetes), and an increase in the prevalence of risk factors for the development of diabetes (e.g., obesity and sedentary lifestyle). Although the contribution of each factor to increasing diabetes incidence cannot be discerned, the increase in diabetes prevalence coincides with the increase in obesity prevalence across the United States.”
According to the CDC, 18.8 million people were diagnosed with diabetes by 2010. Another 7 million had diabetes and didn’t know it.
“Strategies to prevent diabetes and its preventable risk factors are needed, especially for those at highest risk for diabetes, to slow the rise in diabetes prevalence across the United States,” says the CDC.
The findings are based on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
Some states saw huge increases in diabetes between 1995 and 2005, including Oklahoma (226 percent), Kentucky (158 percent), Georgia (145 percent), Alabama (140 percent), Washington (135 percent), and West Virginia (131 percent).
“The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes is highest in southern and Appalachian states, and it is increasing rapidly in these areas,” says the CDC. “This might be because of the greater prevalence of risk factors for diabetes (e.g., obesity and sedentary lifestyle), a larger proportion of African American ancestry in the population, and cultural and other factors that contribute to poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyles.”