Worldwide Diabetes Cases Quadruple Since 1980
A common problem in Western societies, diabetes affects nearly ten percent of the U.S. population. Now, a new study suggests this trend is spreading throughout other parts of the planet, with worldwide diabetes rates skyrocketing over the past 35 years.
According to researchers out of Emory University, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Imperial College London and the World Health Organization, worldwide rates of diabetes are increasing at stunning rates. Published in the journal The Lancet, the study found that adult diabetes rates have quadrupled over the past three-and-half decades, with total numbers rising from 108 million to 422 million during that span.
The research uncovered an $825 billion annual price tag for treating the disease, making the diabetes a defining issue for worldwide public health.
Why the Increase?
Although the study did not divide statistics between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, researchers estimate that 85 to 95 percent of adult diabetes cases are type 2. This is especially telling since type 2 diabetes is often linked to obesity. Researchers also noted particularly severe increases in low- and middle-income countries, such as India, Pakistan, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Egypt and China, where healthy food options are not typically available in large supply.
In an editorial presented alongside the study, the World Health Organization urged health officials to sound the alarm for effective, large-scale action aimed at reducing the economic and health impact of diabetes. Unfortunately, attempts to control rising obesity rates have proved unsuccessful thus far.
What You Can Do
While health experts search for ways to reduce global diabetes rates, you can reduce your individual risk by:
- Getting more physical activity
- Eating more fiber
- Eating whole grains to maintain blood sugar levels
- Losing excess weight
- Avoiding fad diets in favor of healthy living
You should also make routine appointments to your doctor to test for potential issues before they become significant problems.