U.S. Diabetes Rate Reverses Course, Declines in 2011

Recent survey data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicates that the U.S. diabetes rate has decreased in 2011, reversing an upward trend that characterized the previous two years. In the third quarter of this year, 11 percent of Americans reported having diabetes, up from 10.6 percent in this year's second quarter, but still "among the lowest levels recorded since 2009." According to Gallup, "The diabetes rate was below 11% throughout 2008, but then began to increase in 2009 and 2010." 11.5 percent of Americans reported having diabetes before January of this year.
The declining diabetes rate mirrors a decline in the percentage of Americans who are obese. Gallup comments: "The obesity rate, which has a well-established relationship with the most common form of diabetes -- Type 2 -- also declined slightly in the second and third quarter of this year, with somewhat lower levels in 2011 compared with 2010."
As the percentage of Americans who are obese declines, so should the percentage of Americans with Type 2 diabetes. "Gallup has found that obese Americans are nearly three times as likely to report having been diagnosed with diabetes as those who are not obese, and that states with the highest obesity rates have much higher diabetes levels than those with the lowest obesity rates."
There is no cure for diabetes, so any decrease in its prevalence should reflect "fewer new cases and a reduction in old cases through mortality." If Americans continue to lose weight, it is likely that a smaller percentage of them will get Type 2 diabetes, and the U.S. diabetes rate will continue to fall.
SSDAN Office

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