Diabetes Incidence and Prevalence

In April 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that the percentage of people with diabetes in the United States doubled since 1998. Studies show that nearly 1 in 10 adults have been diagnosed with the condition. Fewer people are thought to be undiagnosed—perhaps due to improved screening methods for diabetes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in November 2012, about 347 million people worldwide have diabetes. The WHO estimates that in 2004, approximately 3.4 million people throughout the world died from diabetes complications—more than 80 percent in low- and middle-income areas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified an area of the United States where the incidence of type 2 diabetes is higher than in other parts of the country.

This "diabetes belt" is located primarily in 15 states in the South East region. According to the CDC, obesity and lack of physical activity account for approximately 33 percent of the increased diabetes risk in this area.

Here is a map showing the diabetes belt in the United States:

Diabetes Belt Image - CDC

The WHO also projects that by 2030, diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death. To promote effective measures geared to reducing diabetes risk, the WHO:

  • provides guidelines for diabetes prevention
  • develops standards for diabetes diagnosis and care
  • works with other organizations to build diabetes awareness
  • conducts studies on diabetes risk factors

Updated by Remedy Health Media

Publication Review By: Christopher D. Saudek, M.D.; Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., and the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 20 Apr 2009

Last Modified: 11 Jun 2014