New cases of diabetes have dropped

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of new cases of diabetes is declining.

Diabetes statistics are sobering. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes kills more people than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Every 19 seconds, someone is diagnosed with the disease. One in eleven Americans has diabetes and one in four has diabetes without knowing it. Likely due to the prevalence of obesity, the rate of diabetes has been increasing for the last two decades. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that the number of new cases is actually declining, there was a reason to cheer.

What did the report include?

  • A drop in new diabetes cases from more than 1.7 million during 1991-2009, to 1.4 million during 2009-2014.
  • African Americans and Hispanics continue to be at greater risk.
  • Individuals with high school education or more showed a greater decline in new cases.

What has contributed to the decline?

National experts do not point to one specific reason but offer a few possibilities that could help to explain the drop in new cases.

  • Targeted prevention education. The National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) is an evidence-based lifestyle program that targets individuals at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Participants meet with a trained lifestyle coach and a small group of people who are also making lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Michigan State University Extension is proud to offer NDPP and is recognized as one of five programs in the state who have received full recognition from the CDC.
  • Physical activity promotion and reducing consumption of sugary foods and beverages.
  • Personal experiences have motivated change. The New York Times reported on several stories from individuals who have experienced the devastation of diabetes within their community.

Experts refer to the latest statistic as a “step in the right direction,” and are quick to point out that much more work is needed. According to current numbers there are still 24 million Americans with diabetes and another five million that are not yet diagnosed.

Michigan State University offers a variety of programs aimed at diabetes prevention. Check MSU Extension Events for programming in your region. 

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