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Worldwide Prevalence of Diabetes

written by: Bobby Mathew • edited by: lrohner • updated: 11/20/2010

A variety of factors contribute to the global diabetes prevalence worldwide. Find out what causes places like the United States to expect twice the amount of cases of diabetes over the next 10 years, while Southeast Asia will experience triple the amount of diabetes cases in the same time.

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    The Statistics

    The statistics concerning the global diabetes prevalence worldwide indicates that it has reached epidemic proportions. Over 285 million people, or 6.4 percent of the world's population, is currently diabetic. In the year 2030, the medical community estimates a 46.7 percent increase in the number of cases of diabetes from the year 2000. More than 70 percent of diabetic people live in low to middle income nations and the largest affect group is currently those in the 40 to 59 age group.

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    Worldwide Prevalence of Diabetes by Area

    According to the World Health Organization, the increase in global diabetes prevalence worldwide between the years 2000 and 2030 arranged by region, are as follows:

    • The African Region will see a rise in the incidence of diabetes from 7,020,000 to 18,234,000
    • The Mediterranean region will see a jump in the incidence of diabetes from 15,188,000 to 42,600,000.
    • The Americas will see a rise from 33,016,000 to 66,812,000.
    • The European region will see a rise from 33,332,000 to 47,973,000 new cases of diabetes.
    • South East Asia will see a jump in the occurrence of diabetes from 46,903,000 to 119,541,000
    • The Western Pacific region will see a rise in the incidence of diabetes from 35,771,000 to 71,050,100

    Only urgent and aggressive action can prevent the nearly 50 percent increase in the global diabetes prevalence worldwide that is expected to occur by the end of this decade.

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    Why Such A Projected Increase?

    The global diabetes prevalence worldwide is projected to increase at such a rate due to:

    A) An overall growth in population

    B) The increase in life expectancy

    C) Increasingly sedentary lifestyle and inactivity

    D) Increasing obesity trend

    E) Unhealthy dietary habits

    In regions like Southeast Asia, the projected increase in the incidence of diabetes is attributed to the overall growth of the population. China and India already have a large number of diabetics due to their population, and are only likely to see a large increase in the amount of people that are diabetic by the end of this decade as their population increases.

    In certain areas, increases in life expectancy allow people to live longer. However, the elderly are more prone to become diabetic. This is because they naturally become less active, hormone levels and metabolism drop, fat levels increase and muscle mass decreases unless physical activity aimed at preserving it is performed.

    In areas like the United States, sedentary lifestyle and inactivity, increasing obesity and unhealthy diets are a major cause of the increases in the incidence of diabetes. Childhood obesity trends have increased in recent decades, and given the fact that a large fraction of obese children become obese adults, we see that many of those children will contribute to the rise in diabetes in our country. Furthermore, processed foods have caused our diets to be less healthy, with the potential to open us up to the acquisition of a whole host of medical conditions, including diabetes, from long term consumption.

    If we can collectively address each of these issues, the world has some hope in minimizing the rate at which people become diabetic on a global scale.