Modeling the Impact of Prevention Policies on Future Diabetes Prevalence in the United States: 2010-2030

Popul Health Metr. 2013 Sep 18;11(1):18. doi: 10.1186/1478-7954-11-18.


Background: Although diabetes is one of the most costly and rapidly increasing serious chronic diseases worldwide, the optimal mix of strategies to reduce diabetes prevalence has not been determined.

Methods: Using a dynamic model that incorporates national data on diabetes prevalence and incidence, migration, mortality rates, and intervention effectiveness, we project the effect of five hypothetical prevention policies on future US diabetes rates through 2030: 1) no diabetes prevention strategy; 2) a "high-risk" strategy, wherein adults with both impaired fasting glucose (IFG) (fasting plasma glucose of 100-124 mg/dl) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) (2-hour post-load glucose of 141-199 mg/dl) receive structured lifestyle intervention; 3) a "moderate-risk" strategy, wherein only adults with IFG are offered structured lifestyle intervention; 4) a "population-wide" strategy, in which the entire population is exposed to broad risk reduction policies; and 5) a "combined" strategy, involving both the moderate-risk and population-wide strategies. We assumed that the moderate- and high-risk strategies reduce the annual diabetes incidence rate in the targeted subpopulations by 12.5% through 2030 and that the population-wide approach would reduce the projected annual diabetes incidence rate by 2% in the entire US population.

Results: We project that by the year 2030, the combined strategy would prevent 4.6 million incident cases and 3.6 million prevalent cases, attenuating the increase in diabetes prevalence by 14%. The moderate-risk approach is projected to prevent 4.0 million incident cases, 3.1 million prevalent cases, attenuating the increase in prevalence by 12%. The high-risk and population approaches attenuate the projected prevalence increases by 5% and 3%, respectively. Even if the most effective strategy is implemented (the combined strategy), our projections indicate that the diabetes prevalence rate would increase by about 65% over the 23 years (i.e., from 12.9% in 2010 to 21.3% in 2030).

Conclusions: While implementation of appropriate diabetes prevention strategies may slow the rate of increase of the prevalence of diabetes among US adults through 2030, the US diabetes prevalence rate is likely to increase dramatically over the next 20 years. Demand for health care services for people with diabetes complications and diabetes-related disability will continue to grow, and these services will need to be strengthened along with primary diabetes prevention efforts.