Diabetes prevalence among Americans may increase to 33%, CDC study finds

ATLANTA The rate of diabetes among Americans is on an upswing and likely will reach epic proportions by 2050, costing the government millions.


Anew study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in Population Health Metrics found that annual diagnosed diabetes incidence (new cases) will increase from about eight cases per 1,000 people in 2008 to about 15 in 2050. The authors also projected that — assuming low incidence and relatively high diabetes mortality — total diabetes prevalence (diagnosed and undiagnosed cases) is projected to increase from 14% in 2010 to 21% of the U.S. adult population by 2050, but noted that  if recent increases in diabetes incidence continue and diabetes mortality is relatively low, prevalence will increase to 33% by 2050.


In 2007, diabetes cost the United States in excess of $174 billion. With the increased prevalence of diabetes in the country, the CDC suggested that the projected loss in quality of life and the projected costs of providing health care could be significant, as the healthcare costs of a person with diagnosed diabetes are approximately 2.3 times higher than nondiabetics, the authors noted.

"These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of Type 2 diabetes," said Ann Albright, 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 authors also noted that intervention can reduce, but not eliminate, increases in diabetes prevalence.

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