A variety of studies have been conducted to predict the future burden of diabetes in America. When viewed as a whole, consistent themes emerge:
- Type 2 diabetes will continue to grow at epidemic proportions, due to a population that is aging, more obese and overweight, less physically active, and more ethnically diverse.
- The future costs of diabetes could be catastrophic to America's health care system and way of life.
- It may be possible to change the curve of this epidemic if America can muster the will and the resources to treat type 2 diabetes as the serious public health threat that it is, and implement evidence-based, cost-effective diabetes prevention programs in communities across the country.
A recent study by the Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) found that 10 states in the US would bear the brunt of the projected diabetes epidemic in the next 15 years.
- Overall, this IAF study projects that 53.1 million Americans will have diabetes in the year 2025, representing a 63% increase from the number with diabetes today.
- The cost of diabetes is projected to rise to $514 billion in 2025, representing an increase of 72% from today’s figures and comparable to the entire Medicare budget for 2010.
Data reported by researchers from the CDC in the journal Population Health Metrics (November 2010) showed three scenarios for projected prevalence of diabetes in the year 2050. None of these scenarios is good:
- Assuming low diabetes incidence, and relatively high diabetes mortality, overall prevalence of diabetes in the US population could rise from 14% in 2010 to 21% in 2050
- Assuming recent increases in diabetes incidence continue, and diabetes mortality is low, then the overall prevalence of diabetes in the US population could rise from 14% in 2010 to 33% in 2050
- According to a middle ground scenario, diabetes prevalence could increase from 14% in 2010 to 25-to-28% in 2050
The UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization issued a report in November 2010, in which it projected that:
- By 2020, 52% of all US adults will have diabetes or prediabetes
- Health spending associated with diabetes and prediabetes will rise to $500 billion annually
- Over the next decade, the US may spend $3.4 trillion on diabetes-related care