Obesity Worsening Diabetes Epidemic

CDC: One in three Americans born in 2000 will develop illness

CHICAGO, Oct. 7 — One in three Americans born in the year 2000 will develop adult-onset diabetes, a worsening epidemic that disproportionately affects women and minorities, federal researchers said Tuesday.

RISING RATES of diabetes are directly related to the increasing incidence of obesity among Americans, said researcher K.M. Venkat Narayan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

“The overwhelming reason why diabetes is increasing in the country is because there’s an epidemic of obesity,” Narayan said.

“Among Americans, a woman has a slightly higher risk, probably a 39 percent chance of developing diabetes in her lifetime, and minority groups, particularly Hispanics, have a one in two chance of developing diabetes,” he said.

The disease’s impact on blood vessels damages the body’s organs, can cause blindness, and often leads to kidney and heart disease — and shaves between 10 and 15 years off a victim’s life.

Projecting trends based on health data covering 360,000 Americans from 1984 to 2000, the research estimated the number of people with diabetes will increase to more than 28 million in 50 years from 17 million currently.

The data showed nearly 7 percent of U.S. adults had diabetes in 1999, up from less than 5 percent a decade earlier.

The risk of diabetes is higher than a woman’s risk of breast cancer — a one in eight chance — and roughly the same as the risk of heart disease — one in two for men, one in three for women.

Narayan, writing in this week’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, said people can lessen their risk appreciably through regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Source: MSNBC (October 7, 2003).

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