Impact of the population at risk of diabetes on projections of diabetes burden in the United States: an epidemic on the way

Diabetologia. 2007 May;50(5):934-40. doi: 10.1007/s00125-006-0528-5. Epub 2006 Nov 21.


Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to make projections of the future diabetes burden for the adult US population based in part on the prevalence of individuals at high risk of developing diabetes.

Materials and methods: Models were created from data in the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II mortality survey (1976-1992), the NHANES III (1988-1994) and the NHANES 1999-2002. Population models for adults (>20 years of age) from NHANES III data were fitted to known diabetes prevalence in the NHANES 1999-2002 before making future projections. We used a multivariable diabetes risk score to estimate the likelihood of diabetes incidence in 10 years. Estimates of future diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) prevalence in 2011, 2021, and 2031 were made under several assumptions.

Results: Based on the multivariable diabetes risk score, the number of adults at high risk of diabetes was 38.4 million in 1991 and 49.9 million in 2001. The total diabetes burden is anticipated to be 11.5% (25.4 million) in 2011, 13.5% (32.6 million) in 2021, and 14.5% (37.7 million) in 2031. Among individuals aged 30 to 39 years old who are not currently targeted for screening according to age, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to rise from 3.7% in 2001 to 5.2% in 2031. By 2031, 20.2% of adult Hispanic individuals are expected to have diabetes.

Conclusions/interpretation: The prevalence of diabetes is projected to rise to substantially greater levels than previously estimated. Diabetes prevalence within the Hispanic community is projected to be potentially overwhelming.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness
  • Diabetes Mellitus / economics
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / mortality
  • Disease Outbreaks / statistics & numerical data
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology