US Diabetes Cases Down First Time in Decades

U.S. Diabetes Cases Down; First Time in Decades But another report shows U.S. has more cases than 37 other developed nations
WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- In a sign that Americans may finally be turning the corner in the fight against diabetes -- and possibly obesity -- federal health statistics released Tuesday show that the number of new cases of diabetes has dropped for the first time in decades.

The decline wasn't sudden or dramatic. But, the number of new diabetes cases went from 1.7 million in 2009 to 1.4 million in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It seems pretty clear that incidence rates have now actually started to drop. Initially it was a little surprising because I had become so used to seeing increases everywhere we looked," CDC researcher Edward Gregg told The New York Times.

The proportion of Americans with diabetes is still twice what it was in the early 1990s. And not every racial group has made strides against the blood sugar disease, which is often triggered by obesity and lack of exercise.

Also, another report released Tuesday at the World Diabetes Congress in Vancouver, Canada, shows that the United States still has the highest diabetes rate among 38 developed nations.

However, the CDC report offers some encouraging indications that Americans may finally be adopting healthier lifestyles.

For example, fewer whites are now being diagnosed with diabetes -- typically type 2 diabetes, by far the most common form of the disease. But, blacks and Hispanics haven't seen significant declines in diagnoses even though a downward trend is starting to emerge, the CDC report showed.

Educated Americans also have seen improvements in diabetes diagnoses, while the less educated have only seen a flattening in the number of new cases, the report found.

"It's not yet time to have a parade," Dr. David Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told the Times. But, "it has finally entered into the consciousness of our population that the sedentary lifestyle is a real problem, that increased body weight is a real problem."

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