Obesity trends project one in three diabetic Americans by 2050

obesity trends diabetes

If obesity rates continue to rise, the CDC said one-third of Americans will have diabetes by 2050 and treatment costs will triple. Image CC Tobyotter/Flickr

One in three Americans will be living with diabetes by 2050 if the disease continues to increase at current rates. The Centers for Disease control released a report Friday attributing the projected trend to rising obesity rates and an aging population. As the cost of treating diabetes is expected to triple, the CDC has launched efforts reduce the number of cases.

Millions are diabetic and don’t even know it

Diabetes currently affects 1 in 10 Americans — about 23.6 million people, according to the CDC. A CNN article on the study reported that if obesity trends continue, diabetes cases are expected to double and possibly triple by 2050. Today about 6 million people aren’t even aware they have diabetes. The CDC said 57 million Americans with excess fat around the midsection are pre-diabetic and destined to develop the condition unless their lifestyles change. Most of will end up with type 2 diabetes, and their bodies will lose the ability to produce insulin.

Diabetes treatment costs skyrocket

To prevent diabetes, there’s nothing people can do about growing older. However, the biggest risk factor — obesity — can be avoided with a healthy diet and exercise. Avoiding obesity will save a lot of money as well. According to the American Diabetes Association, Americans already spend $174 billion annually to treat diabetes. The ADA recommends that everyone, even if they are not obese, get screened for diabetes by age 45. Obese people should consider getting tested at an earlier age.

A pound of prevention, an ounce of cure

The CDC said it has a plan to reduce diabetes and to help people make smarter lifestyle choices. Its prevention efforts target communities where healthy food is hard to find and safe places to exercise are scarce. Even so, the CDC report found that prevention efforts could reduce the number of cases but not keep them from increasing overall. The authors wrote that without preventive intervention, 3.5 million cases are expected in 2050. With prevention efforts, 3.1 million people will learn they have the disease for a net reduction of 344,000 diabetics in 2050.



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