News & Publications

Diabetes Around the World

Mar 25, 2014

Tuesday, March 25th has been designated by the American Diabetes Association as Diabetes Alert Day.   On this day, individuals are encouraged to take a one-minute diabetes risk test.  After taking the test, individuals are encouraged to participate in a Walk to Stop Diabetes in their communities.   TAKE IT.  SHARE IT.  STEP OUT.  This is their motto.

The numbers are staggering -

  • 25.8 million Americans adults and children have diabetes - 8.3 percent of the US population
  • 18.8 million are diagnosed – 7 million are undiagnosed
  • 79 million Americans are estimated to have prediabetes
  • Almost 2 million Americans aged 20 years or older are newly diagnosed with diabetes each year – this breaks down to 5,205 new cases a day.

As bad as the numbers are in the US, other countries are worse. In an article published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the findings of the most comprehensive survey for diabetes ever conducted in China shows 11.6 percent of adults, or 114 million people, have the disease.  This finding adds 22 million people with diabetes to a 2007 estimate.  What this means is that nearly one in three people with diabetes lives in China.

Another significant finding is that people in China are developing the metabolic disease at a lower body mass index than Americans.  Researchers speculate this may be due to changes in diet and physical activity fueled by rapid economic development.  There are concerns that the epidemic will worsen as 40 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds are on the verge of developing diabetes.  In the study, the average BMI in China was 23.7, compared with 28.7 in the US.  The study also reported prediabetes was present in 40 percent of adults ages 18 to 29, and 47 percent among those 30 to 39.

India is also experiencing a major epidemic. In a 1998 survey done in India, researchers tracking the disease found that rates were high in the middle class and negligible among the poor.  Ten years later, the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) found that diabetes rates among people earning less than $94 a month more than doubled from 6.5 to 15.3 percent. They also discovered that 10 percent of the population in other rural areas had diabetes where there had been virtually a zero prevalence 10 years ago.   A study done by researchers from MDRF and published in December 2011 estimated that there were 62.4 million people with diabetes across India - up 65 percent from a 2004 estimate. The study theorized that an additional 77.2 million Indians could have prediabetes and that by 2030, 100 million peopld in India could suffer from diabetes. 

Amazing numbers for this worldwide crisis.


Leave a comment
  1. Mar 28, 2014

    Thank you, Barbara, for giving us the global perspective on the rapid increase in diabetes! It makes the imperative need for the Diabetes Prevention Program very apparent. World-wide, there is work being done in the realm of diabetes prevention and the evidence keeps growing that it can be done successfully in community and other settings. For diabetes educators interested in learning more about the DPP and how to implement it in your own community, please join the newly formed Diabetes Prevention Discussion Group. Here is the link: Or when you are in myAADEnetwork, click on My Communities and scroll down to discussion groups and click on Diabetes Prevention. Be sure click on “Subscribe to Discussions” and “Subscribe to Announcements” on the right side of the page. Let's tackle this TOGETHER! Marci Butcher, RD, CDE
  2. Mar 25, 2014

    These numbers are amazing. Thanks for sharing. Our diabetes educators and hospital dieticians did a great job in reaching out to others in the institution were we work for Diabetes Alert day. Every little bit counts in helping to decrease these numbers.

    Leave a comment

    In This Section

    News & Publications