Diabetes rates rose a striking 6.0 percent among adults in 1999 according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new findings are reported in the February issue of Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association, and are further evidence that diabetes is a major public health threat of epidemic proportions. Currently more than 16 million Americans have diabetes.
This new report is a follow-up to a study CDC released in September showing that
from 1990 to 1998 diabetes rose 33 percent (4.9 percent to 6.5 percent) among U.S.
adults. That study also linked the increase in diabetes with the rising rates of
obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes. The prevalence of obesity increased
significantly from 17.9% in 1998 to 18.9% in 1999, an increase of 5.6% in one year and
57% from 1991.
"This dramatic new evidence signals the unfolding of an epidemic in the United
States," said Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, director of CDC. "With obesity on the
rise, we can expect diabetes rates to increase sharply as a result. If these dangerous
trends continue at the current rates, the impact on our nationís health and medical
care costs in future years will be overwhelming," Koplan said.
In 1997, an estimated $98 billion was spent on health care associated with
diabetes. Both the September report and the follow-up data were derived from the
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing data collection program
conducted by state health agencies in collaboration with CDC.
According to the 1999 survey, increases in diabetes were noted in every category
examined including sex, age, race, education, weight and smoking status. Prevalence
increased among both women (7.4 percent to 7.6 percent) and men (5.5 percent to 6.0
percent) and among all ethnic groups including whites (5.9 percent to 6.2 percent),
blacks (8.9 percent to 9.9 percent), Hispanics (7.7 percent to 8.0 percent) and all
others (6.6 percent to 7.7 percent).
"Despite these dramatic increases, we are encouraged that maintaining healthy
behavior such as controlling weight through nutrition and physical activity can help
ease the burden of diabetes and may actually prevent its onset," said Dr. Frank
Vinicor, director of CDCís diabetes program.
Approximately 800,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year. It is the
seventh leading cause of death in this country and a major contributor to serious
health problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, high blood pressure, kidney
disease, and amputations.
CDC works in collaboration with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive
and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) in sponsoring the National Diabetes Education Program
(NDEP), an initiative involving both public and private partners to improve diabetes
treatment, promote early diagnosis, and maintain quality of life for people who have
For more information on diabetes, visit CDCís Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/ or call toll
free: 877-CDC-DIAB (877-232-3422). For information about nutrition and physical
activity, call toll free at 888-CDC-4NRG (888-232-4674) or visit http://cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/.
To obtain copies of geographic maps showing diabetes and obesity trends in the
United States, call the press contacts listed above.
CDC protects peopleís health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases
and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical
health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local,
national and international organizations.