The number of people with diabetes throughout the world is expected to double
by 2030, according to a new study led by the World Health Organization and carried
out in cooperation with researchers from universities in Scotland, Denmark and
The researchers, led by Sara Wild, PhD, from the University of Edinburgh, predicted
that the number of people with diabetes worldwide will continue to increase
at record levels through 2030. Wild and her colleagues said the greatest relative
increase in diabetes prevalence is expected in the Middle Eastern, sub-Saharan
Africa and India. The researchers also said that the United States will experience
a far more rapid increase in diabetes cases than previously expected.
Wild and her colleagues arrived at these predictions by analyzing data on diabetes
prevalence in countries throughout the world. The researchers said the worldwide
prevalence of diabetes for all age groups was estimated to be 2.8% in 2000.
But the researchers predict this number will increase to 4.4% by 2030. They
also predicted that the total number of people with diabetes will rise to 366
million in 2030, up from 171 million in 2000.
The three countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes in 2000 were India,
China and the United States. The researchers said these countries are expected
to continue to have the highest prevalence in 2030.
But this new study projects an even higher increase for the United States than
a 2001 study by the CDC had previously predicted. That study projected the number
of Americans with diagnosed diabetes would reach 29 million by 2050; but this
new WHO study estimates that there will be 30.3 million Americans with diabetes
by as early as 2030.
Wild and her colleagues also predicted that Egypt and the Philippines will be
among the top 10 countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes by 2030.
But they said Italy and Russia are expected to drop from this list.
The researchers said their findings are particularly concerning because as diabetes
is expected to increase in developing countries over the next three decades,
mortality from communicable disease and infant and maternal mortality will decrease.
Wild and her colleagues said this change will lead to higher proportions of
deaths from cardiovascular disease, as well as a great incidence of other diabetes-related
complications, which will be particularly marked in developing countries. “The
human and economic costs of this epidemic are enormous,” Wild and her
colleagues noted. “A concerted, global initiative is required to address
the diabetes epidemic.”
Wild S. et al. Global prevalence of diabetes: Estimates for the
year 2000 and projections for 2030. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:1047-1053.
FACT: One can of coke contains nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar
or the entire daily recommended amount of calories from sugar.
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