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JAMA Publishes First Long-Term Study on National Diabetes Rates – Signs of Leveling Off

Published: 10/10/14
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On September 24, JAMA published a paper on long-term trends in the number of people with diabetes in the United States from 1980 to 2012. The results showed a leveling-off in the rates of diabetes between 2008 and 2012 - the number of people with diabetes increased modestly from 7.9% to 8.3% of the population. However, this comes after a very large increase between 1990 and 2008, when there was a 3.5% to 7.9% jump in number of people affected. The authors explain that there are several reasons for the slower growth rates in cases, likely due to the slower growth in obesity rates and a recent decrease in food consumption and food purchases – though these don’t seem to address the broader trends of an aging population and increased risk factors such as unhealthy food environments and inactive lifestyles.

While this trend is moderately good news in the general population, the prevalence of diabetes has still continued to increase in certain at-risk groups such as Hispanics, non-Hispanic blacks, and people with a high school education or less. Unfortunately, this only stands to worsen current racial and socioeconomic disparities and hurts those who need the most help. –NL  

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