Diabetes: A Growing Epidemic

Diabetes, a serious chronic disease, is becoming more commonplace among Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data in November showing a staggering increase in diagnosed diabetes cases. Between 1995 and 2010, the number of Americans with diagnosed diabetes increased by 82 percent. In 18 states, the rate of diabetes more than doubled. Another 24 states’ diabetes rate increased between 50 and 100 percent. Eight states, D.C. and Puerto Rico posted increases less than 50 percent. 

  Download the Brief in PDF / E-Reader Compatible Format

  Download the Excel Version of the Table: "Prevalence of Diagnosed Diabetes among Adults, 18 and over"

Diabetes, a serious chronic disease, is becoming more commonplace among Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data in November showing a staggering increase in diagnosed diabetes cases. Between 1995 and 2010, the number of Americans with diagnosed diabetes increased by 82 percent.1

  • In 18 states, the rate of diabetes more than doubled, with Oklahoma having the largest increase of 226 percent. The other states whose rates of diagnosed diabetes doubled—or more—were: Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
  • Eight states—Alaska, California, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin—the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had prevalence rates of diagnosed diabetes that grew less than 50 percent over the 15 year period. 
  • The remaining 24 states saw increased rates of between 50 and 100 percent.
In 2010, 18.8 million people were diagnosed with the disease and the CDC estimates another 7 million  people have the disease but do not know it. The rates of diabetes remain the highest in Southern and Appalachian states.
  • The 2010 national rate of diagnosed diabetes was 8.2 percent of adults 18 and over.
  • More than one in 10 residents of Alabama, Mississippi,Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia was diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Western and Midwestern states had the lowest rates of diabetes; a dozen states—Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming—posted rates of less than 7 percent in 2010.
The increase in diagnosed diabetes is attributed to several factors, according to the CDC report.2
  • Fewer people with diabetes are dying from the disease. Between 1997 and 2006, mortality among adults with diabetes declined substantially and at a faster rate than among adults without diabetes.3 Health improvements among people with diabetes include lower rates of complications due to improvements in quality of care and medical treatments.
  • More people have diabetes—the incidence of the disease is steadily climbing in the U.S. Reasons for the increase may include increased detection and diagnosis of the disease and changes in diagnostic criteria.
  • Demographic changes put more Americans at risk for diabetes as the population ages and minority populations grow.
  • An increase in other risk factors—obesity and sedentary lifestyles—contributes to more diabetes.
The CDC recommends strategies that target the entire population, as well as at-risk populations, to reverse the growing trend of diabetes.4
  • Public health campaigns targeting increased physical activity for the entire population can be preventive for diabetes and other chronic diseases.
  • Evidence-based community lifestyle programs can promote modest weight loss, good nutritional practices and increased physical activity among people at high risk.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” Nov. 16, 2012, Vol. 16, No. 45. 
2 Ibid.
3 Gregg, E.W., et al. “Trends in death rates among U.S. adults with and without diabetes between 1997 and 2006.” Findings from the National Health interview Survey. Diabetes Care 2012: 35:1252-7.


Diabetes Epidemic

diabetes_epidemic.pdf773.91 KB
diabetes_epidemic.xls35.5 KB