One in three Americans could be diabetic by 2050, says CDC

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Blood sugar Diabetes mellitus

As many as one in three Americans could be diabetic by 2050, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Many food and beverage manufacturers have sought to bring products to the market in recent years that tap into demand from a growing number of diabetic consumers. These include foods that replace, or partly replace, caloric sweeteners with low- and no-calorie sweeteners; functional fibers that may blunt blood sugar spikes after eating; and an overall interest in low-glycemic foods, defined as those that cause blood sugar levels to rise gradually after eating.

However, CDC researchers are pessimistic that any intervention measures will work to effectively curb diabetes rates.

Currently about one in ten US adults has diabetes, mostly type-2, the CDC said, and it estimates that the disease costs $174bn a year – of which $116bn is in direct medical costs. The research, which has been published in the journal Population Health Metrics​, suggests that preventive measures could “considerably reduce but not eliminate”​ increases in the prevalence of diabetes, with estimates for future prevalence ranging from 21 to 33 percent of the population in 40 years’ time.

Out-of-date demographics

Previous projections could be inaccurate because they are based on 1990 census projections. They do not account for the increasing proportion of people from ethnic groups with a higher chance of developing type-2 diabetes, such as Hispanics, the report said.

“Although a formal projection of costs is beyond the scope of this analysis, the total societal cost of diabetes is likely to dramatically increase over the coming decades,” ​the researchers wrote.

“The increases in diabetes prevalence projected here are largely attributable to a combination of three key demographic factors, including aging of the US population, increasing size of higher-risk minority populations, and declining mortality among people with diabetes.”

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