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Rate of Diabetes Appears to be Leveling Off, Study Finds

Update Date: Sep 24, 2014 10:11 AM EDT

Over the past four years, the number of new adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has started to level off, a new study reported. According to the researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even though the overall number of adults with diabetes has increased an average of 0.6 percent per year from 2008 to 2012, the number of new cases has fallen by an average of 5.4 percent.

"We are beginning to see a slowing of the increase in diabetes, and potentially a plateauing," said study co-author Ann Albright, director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation reported by Philly. "It should give us all some optimism, but it does mean we should not sit on our laurels."

The latest numbers suggest that the rate of adult diabetes might be leveling off. From 1990 to 2008, the number of diabetes cases increased an average of 4.5 percent each year. From 1990 to 2008, the total number of diabetes cases went from 35 per 1,000 people to 79 per 1,000 people while the yearly number of new cases increased as well from 3.2 per 1,000 people to 8.8 per 1,000 people.

Between 2008 and 2012, however, the patterns started to change. Instead of increasing dramatically, the total number of diabetes cases only went up to 83 per 1,000 people. The yearly number of new cases, on the other hand, fell to 7.1 per 1,000 people.

"Hopefully, we will begin seeing fewer people with diabetes because we are seeing fewer new cases of diabetes," Albright said. "But even with the slowing, we're still going to have lots of people with diabetes. This is telling us that some of the things we've been doing have been helping the situation, but we are going to have to monitor this carefully -- and we can't get lax because we have a long way to go."

Despite the overall fall in new cases, the researchers found that the reductions did not apply to all groups. The number of diabetes cases continues to increase for blacks, Hispanics, the poorly educated and the aging.

"The interventions that are effective in treating obesity and preventing type 2 diabetes, we know what those are," Albright said according to FOX News. "We need to be implementing them on a wider scale if we're going to turn this tide."

For this report, the team had analyzed data on about 665,000 adults between the ages of 20 and 79. The data were collected from the National Health Interview Survey.

The report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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