10 years ago the International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas indicated that just over 150 million people had diabetes worldwide. Now, less than 10 years later the survey shows 285 million worldwide cases, more than half of those aged between 20 and 60.
To put this rise in perspective in 1985 it was estimated there were 30 million worldwide cases. India and China lead the way in cases but are followed closely by the US. About 9% of the US population is found to have been diagnosed with diabetes (26.8 million) at a rate of $198 billion a year. This is 52.7% of worldwide spending on diabetes, an incredible number!
At this growth rate the number should reach above 435 million by 2030 (US population today is 303 million). As I’ve said before, if we really want to cut down on health expenditures this is a major area of public health we have to target and not just by paying it lip service. Since a majority of cases are type II (insulin resistance with obesity and diet as contributors) we need to target the food and food services industries and the way the consumer is informed of their decision.
Of course a huge problem is getting people to realize the long term health affects of diet and exercise which is very difficult. Incremental weight loss and an abstract number like fasting glucose levels are difficult means to motivate people into life altering habits. This has been proven with the massive diet industry which peddles unnecessary measures to lose weight. This is easily seen by the yo-yo effect from people losing weight off of a diet and then gaining the weight back, only to have to find another diet. I’ve seen family members go from diet program to diet program to find one which will “keep the weight off” but the only way to keep the weight off is to change your eating and exercise habits, dirty secret the industry wishes to keep from you.
I guess I got way off topic but the obesity and diabetes problems are closely related, so there’s my diatribe for the day…