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New Diabetes Cases Decline for First Time in Decades

Update Date: Dec 03, 2015 08:53 AM EST

For the first time in decades, the rate of new diabetes cases in the United States has started to decline.

New cases of diabetes fell by a fifth between 2008 and 2014, according to The New York Times, which notes that it is the first serious decline since the prevalence of the disease began to skyrocket nearly 30 years ago.

There were 1.4 million new cases of diabetes in 2014, which is a decline of 300,000 from the 1.7 million cases that were diagnosed in 2008. The figures are from the Centers for Disease Control, which said they weren't sure if the decline mean the disease's spread had peaked, or if people were changing their eating and exercise habits enough to ensure they also wouldn't get sick.

At the same time, the lower rate of new cases coincides with better eating habits in the United States more generally, the Times says.

For example, Americans are now drinking less soda, roughly 25 percent less than they did in the 1990s, while the number of calories consumed by both adults and children has also fallen. Other indicators of better overall health in the United States generally include increases in physical activity and lower rates of obesity.

However, despite this progress, the number of Americans with diabetes is still more than double what it was a quarter century ago.

The gains have also been focused primarily in the well-educate and affluent in the United States. Poorer Americans have made improvements, but the rate of diabetes in lower income groups has simply stopped growing, not declined. The decline for blacks and Latinos has also not been as pronounced as it has been for white Americans, once again reinforcing the class dimensions of the shift.

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