New cases of diabetes are experiencing a surprising decline, as fewer people have been diagnosed with this condition in recent years, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Data made public on Tuesday, December 1, has shown that in 2014 approximately 1.4 million U.S. residents have been told by their physician that they suffer from diabetes.
While the metabolic disorder is still widespread among the American population, affecting a tenth of all adults, there has been a major drop in the number of new cases reported in the last 5 years.
In 2009, diabetes was identified for the first time among 1.7 Americans aged between 18 and 79, so it appears that the annual rate of new diagnoses has decreased by around 300,000.
This is the first time in decades that there has been a downward trend as far as diabetes is concerned, and this means that fewer people will be faced with health risks such as limb amputation, vision impairment and kidney failure.
Between 1980 and 2009, the number of American adults affected by this disease had almost quadrupled, skyrocketing from 493,000 to 1.7 million. Now, it looks like things are finally taking a turn for the better as far as diabetes prevalence is concerned.
As revealed by Edward Gregg, chief of the Epidemiology and Statistics Branch at the Division of Diabetes Translation, the findings have been at least somewhat unexpected, given the fact that until recently the metabolic disease had appeared to be in an unstoppable upswing.
So far, it’s unclear exactly which is the key contributing factor that has resulted in this unprecedented downturn, which can finally be considered statistically significant.
One theory is that diabetes has simply passed its peak in the United States, and now the incidence of new cases can only get smaller and smaller, as the crisis moments have been overcome.
Another supposition is that initiatives meant to curb this condition by emphasizing the importance of an active lifestyle and of a healthy diet have actually been successful.
Apparently, the U.S. population, regardless of age, ethnicity or income, has lowered its daily calorie intake in recent years, in a trend reversal which hadn’t been encountered for as long as 4 decades.
For instance, soda consumption has dwindled by as much as a quarter ever since the late 1990’s. As new, healthier habits have been promoted and adopted, a downswing has also been experienced when it comes to obesity, one of the main triggers for type 2 diabetes.
Although over the third of the U.S. adults still qualify as obese, the prevalence of this condition has stabilized lately, as extra focus has been placed on the dangers of sedentary lifestyles.
In addition, what gives even more hope is the fact that the number of children aged between 2 and 5 who have been declared obese has been falling in the last decade, by as much as 43%.
While these changes for the better are definitely gladdening, the future should be approached with cautious optimism.
That is because Americans still fail to consume the recommended servings of fruit and veggies on a daily basis, and fast food has remained a popular choice, although it has lost a bit of its appeal.
Moreover, while clear improvements have been achieved, they haven’t been equally spread across the U.S. population.
More precisely, the incidence of diabetes has dropped especially among middle-aged or young adults, among those who have received higher education, or among those who are Caucasian.
In contrast, Hispanics and African-Americans have witnessed a less obvious decrease in new diabetes rates, while the condition has simply reached a plateau among those with fewer academic qualifications.
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