According to the study, the rate of increase in diabetes diagnoses grew steeper in the ten-year period. The rate of U.S. adults with diabetes rose from 10.8 percent in 2008-09 to 11.5 percent in 2016-17; this increase resulted in about 1.7 million more Americans with diabetes today than would have been the case had the rate not changed since 2008-09. More alarmingly, obesity – a key risk factor for diabetes and other chronic conditions – rose in 34 states in the same time period and the rate reached 28.3 percent nationally. This percentage represents an all-time high in Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index history when compared to each year from 2008 through 2015.
“As the obesity epidemic intensifies and associated chronic conditions like diabetes become more prevalent, we see compounding effects on well-being across the U.S.,” said Dan Witters, research director, Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. “Without mitigation, the upward trends in diabetes and obesity can be expected to pose significant obstacles in managing healthcare costs, health outcomes, and the overall well-being of individuals, communities and organizations.”
Obesity, commonly defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater, is a significant risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Research shows that about 54 percent of middle-aged Americans who are obese and have not yet developed diabetes will do so in their lifetime. Across most adult age groups, those who are obese are at least four times more likely to have diabetes than are those who are at a normal weight.
“The growing rate of chronic conditions raise important concerns yet also underscore a critical need for environments, programs and policies that promote preventive behaviors,” said David Springer, president of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine™ and the Sharecare Diabetes Solution™. “With focused, collaborative measures between providers, policymakers and others who care for populations, we have the potential to reverse trends and reduce the public health impact of type 2 diabetes and other chronic, yet preventable conditions.”
In a state-by-state analysis, Alaska, Colorado and Montana – each considered “well-being elite” states based on overall well-being trends – measured the lowest prevalence of diabetes in the nation in 2016-17 with less than 9 percent of their adult populations having been diagnosed with the disease. During the same time period, West Virginia measured the highest rate of diabetes, with 17.9 percent of its residents reporting a diabetes diagnosis in 2016-17 – roughly double the rate of the lowest prevalence states. Respondents for seven other states – all located in the southern U.S. – reported diabetes diagnoses of at least 14 percent: South Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee.
For more information and to access the State of American Well-Being: 2017 State and Community Rankings for the Prevalence of Diabetes report, visit https://wellbeingindex.sharecare.com/.
Sharecare is the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place. The Sharecare platform provides each person – no matter where they are in their health journey – with a comprehensive and personalized health profile where they can dynamically and easily connect to the information, evidence-based programs and health professionals they need to live their healthiest, happiest and most productive life. In addition to providing individual consumers with direct access to award-winning and innovative frictionless technologies, scientifically validated clinical protocols and best-in-class coaching tools, Sharecare also helps providers, employers and health plans effectively scale outcomes-based health and wellness solutions across their entire populations. To learn more, visit www.sharecare.com.