Alarming new statistics released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of people in the United States with diabetes could triple by 2050.
According to the CDC, “[t]he number of new diabetes cases a year will increase from 8 per 1,000 in 2008 to 15 per 1,000 in 2050″ if lifestyle changes in the general population aren’t made.
One in 10 U.S. adults now has diabetes. The CDC estimates show a sharp rise in diabetes over the next 40 years “due to an aging population more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, increases in minority groups that are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, and people with diabetes living longer.”
The CDC projections show an alarming increase in the number of cases of Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable. According to Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, changes in lifestyle — breaking bad habits, exercising regularly and eating a proper diet — could stem the disease in individuals:
Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available, because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail.
According to recent studies, diabetes costs Americans “an estimated $174 billion annually, including $116 billion in direct medical costs.” And those costs are recurring, according to Irene O’Shaughnessy, an endocrinologist at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin, since instilling new habits generally takes time:
Diabetes is a very expensive disease. It is an overwhelming problem … Teaching people how to eat right takes multiple visits It’s an expensive program to staff, and you have to keep reinforcing the better habits. Prevention starts in the home with children growing up with a healthy lifestyle, and with educating parents so they don’t transfer bad habits to their children.
While some medical experts suggest consulting with a dietitian, it’s a costly visit: many insurance companies will only pay for a single visit, even though it takes multiple sessions to truly help change behaviors. According to Ramin Alemzadeh, a pediatric endocrinologist, 15 percent of the families in his Wisconsin practice “don’t want dietary counseling because their insurance company will deny the fee.”