About half of US adults are diabetic or prediabetic

Approximately half of the US adult population has diabetes or is prediabetic, although prevalence of the disease appears to be leveling off after decades of increase, researchers said.

Nearly 40 per cent of US adults had prediabetes and 12 to 14 per cent had diabetes between 2011 and 2012, according to new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Among those with diabetes, 36.4 per cent of cases were undiagnosed. That percentage was higher for Asian-Americans and Latinos at approximately half of all cases.

Diabetes – diagnosed or not – was likely to be highest among Latinos (22.6 per cent), African-Americans (21.8 percent) and Asian-Americans (20.6 percent).Prevalence among white participants was 11.3 per cent. Diabetes affected 9.8 per cent of the population between 1988 and 1994, increased to 10.8 per cent between 2001 and 2002, and grew again to 12.4 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

Despite these increases, the researchers said recent growth was slight and could signal a plateauing of diabetes prevalence that is consistent with obesity trends in the United States showing a leveling off around the same period. “The current data provide a glimmer of hope,” endocrinologists William Herman and Amy Rothberg, of the University of Michigan, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

“The shift in cultural attitudes toward obesity, the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) recognition of obesity as a disease, and the increasing focus on societal interventions to address food policy and the built environment were helping tackle circumstances that contribute to obesity,” they said.

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