The Percentage of Adults Who Develop Type 2 Diabetes
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The Percentage of Adults Who Develop Type 2 Diabetes

written by: Tricia Edgar • edited by: lrohner • updated: 2/23/2011

Roughly 10 percent of adults in the United States develop type 2 diabetes. However, this percentage of adults with type 2 diabetes does not include those with undiagnosed or prediabetes. Diet, exercise and genes can all influence the development of type 2 diabetes.

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    One in Ten Adults Will Develop Type 2 Diabetes

    We hear it frequently: the percentage of adults who develop type 2 diabetes is growing. In the United States, just over 11 percent of the adults over the age of 20 have diabetes. Since 10 percent of those with diabetes have type 1 or insulin-dependent diabetes, this means that 10 percent of adults in the United States have type 2 diabetes.

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    A Large Percentage of Adults Who Have Type 2 Diabetes Have Yet to Be Diagnosed

    Ten percent might sound like a large number, but it is a very small number compared to the percentage of adults who will develop type 2 diabetes or who have not yet been diagnosed. Four times that have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated, but not to the extent that the person is considered to have diabetes. Some of these people will get diabetes in the future. The Amercian Diabetes Association estimates that for every two people diagnosed with diabetes, there is at least one other person who has diabetes but has not been diagnosed.

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    Diet and Exercise Influence the Percentage of Adults Who Have Type 2 Diabetes

    What factors influence the percentage of adults who develop type 2 diabetes? Diet, exercise, genetics, and income are four major factors that influence the development of this disease. We work at sedentary office jobs and we often have a poor diet because our lives are busy and we eat on the run. Eating refined carbohydrates leads to blood sugar spikes, and over time the pancreas has a hard time accommodating to these spikes. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain, which increases the body’s resistance to the insulin it produces. This can also lead to diabetes. Poor quality food and a lifestyle that does not have enough exercise can also lead to stress and illness. Stress and illness also increase blood sugars and they can also play a role in the development of Type 2 diabetes. By increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, exercising more, and reducing stress, we can reduce the percentage of adults who develop type 2 diabetes.

    Income can also be a factor in the development of type 2 diabetes, because poverty influences peoples’ access to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer unhealthy fats and refined carbohydrates is important for good health. However, fatty, processed foods tend to be the least expensive, so those who are poor suffer from more diet-related health problems like type 2 diabetes.

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    Different Ethnic Groups Have a Different Percentage of Adults Who Have Type 2 Diabetes

    Ethnic origin also seems to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. The disease can occur in people who are not overweight, indicating that there is a genetic component to the disease. Those whose ethnic origins are Hawaiian, Native American, Japanese, Latino, and African-American have a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Of these groups, the percentage of adults who develop type 2 diabetes is from 10 to 16 percent compared with a 6 percent rate of diabetes in those of Caucasian heritage.

    Whatever your ethnic origin, remaining active and eating well is important to reduce your own likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

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    References

    American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Statistics.

    http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

    Reuters Health. 2009. Type 2 Diabetes Risk Differs By Ethnic Group.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/03/20/us-type-2-diabetes-risk-differs-ethnic-g-idUSTRE52J2UL20090320

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