According to a study published in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, black and Hispanic children have about a 50 percent chance of developing diabetes over the course of their lifetimes.
Americans overall have a 40 percent chance of developing the disease.
The authors of the study, epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used mortality data of nearly 600,000 Americans from 1985 to 2011 to determine the risk that Americans face of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes, categorized by race.
The results revealed a substantial difference in risk levels between races. Dr. Edward Gregg, the lead author of the study, said that researchers analyzed race because that was the data available, but “socioeconomic status is probably as important as race, if not more important.”
The study also revealed a rise in diabetes risk overall between 1985 and 2011. That increase was “the main thing that surprised us,” Gregg said. In 1985, American boys had a 21 percent chance of developing diabetes, and girls had a 27 percent risk. By 2011, that risk had jumped to 40 percent for both boys and girls. This risk was partly (and somewhat counter-intuitively) due to the fact that people are living longer, meaning a person has more years during which he or she could develop diabetes.
This is the first study that calculates the lifetime risk faced by Americans with the disease in more than a decade. The CDC has been tracking the prevalence of diabetes and the rate of new cases for years and found that rates often correlate with how far you got in school and where you live.
Researchers cite more options to be physically active, healthier food options and more information about the types of foods consumed as ways to prevent the disease.
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