Diabetes to triple in U.S. by 2050

Up to one-third of U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if Americans continue to gain weight and avoid exercise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has projected. The CDC says about 24 million U.S. adults – or 1 in 10 – have diabetes now, most of them type-2 diabetes linked strongly with poor diet and lack of exercise.

The research team took census numbers and data on current diabetes cases to make models projecting a trend. The numbers are certain to go up as the population gets older, but they will accelerate even more unless Americans change their behavior, they said.

“These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of type-2 diabetes,” CDC diabetes expert Ann Albright said in a statement. “Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail.”

Diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States in 2007, and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, as well as kidney failure and leg and foot amputations not caused by injury. Proper management of type 2 diabetes includes a healthy diet and possibly medication – either oral pills or insulin shots. Physical activity is also important, researchers said.

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