WHO report: Diabetes rate doubles worldwide

The diabetes rate worldwide has nearly doubled in the last three decades, according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

The rate of adults with diabetes increased from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 8.5 percent in 2014. During that time, the number of adults living with diabetes increased nearly fourfold – from 108 million to 422 million, according to the WHO report.

The growing number of people with diabetes is due to an increase in associated risk factors, such as being overweight or obese, according to the WHO.

The report, WHO said, underscores the “enormous scale of the diabetes problem.”

In the U.S., 29.1 million people had diabetes in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means more than 9 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes, according to the CDC.

When it comes to diabetes risk factors, about 70 percent of Americans are overweight, 35 percent are obese and 35 percent are physically inactive, according to the WHO report.

Worldwide, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012; high blood-sugar levels caused an additional 2.2 million deaths by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases, according to WHO.

More than 40 percent of those deaths occur before age 70.

In the U.S., diabetes accounted for more than 27,000 deaths among those younger than 70 and nearly 44,000 deaths of people 70 and older.


Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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