An alarming new study has shown that half of American adults have diabetes or pre-diabetes. What’s worse, field experts believe that this is good news.
The reason to celebrate is that this is the this is the first time in two (2) decades that the number of diabetes patients in the United States has finally began to plateau. For the past 20 years the number has been constantly on the rise.
The findings back up other recent studies which have shown that the number of American adults who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes stayed the same between the years of 2008 and 2012.
Amy Rothberg and William Herman, field experts from the University of Michigan, who did not participate in the new study, wrote in an accompanying article that “Although obesity and Type 2 diabetes remain major clinical and public health problems in the United States, the current data provide a glimmer of hope”.
They went on to add that the study indicates that the implementation of physical activity policies, as well as food and nutrition regulations by local, state and federal governments, along with several other efforts that tried to curb the rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes, are now finally starting to pay off.
However, Rothberg and Herman stressed that even though we’ve made significant progress, “expanded and sustained efforts will be required”.
The study was based on data gathered by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It informed that somewhere between 12 percent (12%) and 14 percent (14%) of American adults had type 2 diabetes between the years of 2011 and 2012. This is the same percentage that researchers also found back in 2008.
Another important findings is that the percentage of American adults who were unaware that they had type 2 diabetes also went down. It was 40.3 percent (40.3%) between the years of 1994 and 1998, and only 31 percent (31%) between the years of 2011 and 2012.
But unfortunately this last bit of progress did not cover all ethnic and racial groups. A higher percentage of Mexican Americans were unaware that they had type 2 diabetes, compared to European Americans and African Americans. And the number did not decrease over time either.
One possible explanation is that only a few Mexican Americans have health insurance, making it a lot harder for many members of this group to have access to healthcare.
But the group most likely to be unaware that they had type 2 diabetes was that of Asian Americans.
While the percentage of American adults with type 2 diabetes has decreased over the centuries, the percentage of American adults with pre-diabetes has actually increased. It was 29 percent (29%) between the years of 1990 and 2002, and it grew to be 36 percent (36%) between the years of 2007 and 2010. The percentage grew a little bit more between the years of 2011 and 2012 – 37 percent (37%) to 38 percent (38%).
The overall results revealed that 49 percent (49%) to 52 percent (52%) of all American adults had either type 2 diabetes of pre-diabetes between the years of 2011 and 2012.
The findings were published earlier this week, on Tuesday (September 8, 2015), in the journal JAMA.