CDC Researchers Report Decline in New Diabetes Diagnoses

CDC Researchers Report Decline in New Diabetes Diagnoses

CDC researchers reported Tuesday that new cases of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. decreased by 35 percent since a peak in 2009. The CDC said this is the first sign that efforts to stop the U.S. diabetes epidemic are working.

CDC researchers reported May 28 that new cases of diagnosed diabetes in the United States decreased by 35 percent since a peak in 2009. CDC said this is the first sign that efforts to stop the U.S. diabetes epidemic are working.

New diabetes cases have declined from 1.7 million new cases per year in 2008 to 1.3 million new cases in 2017, according to the agency. In addition, the number of people in the United States living with diagnosed diabetes has remained stable during the past eight years. These new findings appear in the British Medical Journals' Open Diabetes Research and Care.

The new report represents the longest sustained plateau in existing cases of diagnosed diabetes, as well as the longest decline in new diabetes diagnoses.

"The findings suggest that our work to stem the tide of type 2 diabetes may be working – but we still have a very long way to go," said Ann Albright, Ph.D., director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at CDC. "We must continue proven interventions and deploy innovative strategies if we're going to see a continued decline in type 2 diabetes among Americans."

The number of people living with a diabetes diagnosis increased by 4.4 percent per year from 1990-2009 to a peak of 8.2 per 100 adults, before plateauing to 8 per 100 adults in 2017. Similar trends were seen across all ages, racial and ethnic groups, sexes, and education levels.

"We've seen the same thing across states, underscoring the importance of putting science-proven programs into action," Albright said. "A prime example is the National Diabetes Prevention Program. We must also increase access to affordable, healthier foods and safe places to be active."

In their research, CDC scientists used 1980-2017 cross-sectional survey data from the agency's National Health Interview Survey to examine trends in prevalence and incidence of diagnosed diabetes in adults aged 18-79 years. The data, which relies on self-reported behaviors and medical conditions, does not distinguish between diabetes type; however, type 2 diabetes typically represents 95 percent of cases.

While the causes of the decrease and plateau are not clear, researchers suggest they may be driven in part by increased awareness of and emphasis on type 2 diabetes prevention, changes in diet and physical activity, and changes in diabetes diagnostic and screening practices.

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