Diabetes will be a bigger burden than predicted

By 2005, prevalence of diabetes in Ontario, Canada, had already exceeded the global rate that was predicted for 2030, according to an Article published in this week's issue of The Lancet. Thus WHO's predicted 39% rise in the global rate of diabetes from 2000 to 2030 might be a gross underestimate.

The number of people with diabetes has increased substantially during the past 20 years, making it one of the most costly and burdensome chronic diseases of our time. WHO predicts that the global diabetes prevalence in adults will reach 6.4% by 2030a 60% increase since 1995, and a 39% rise from 2000 to 2030.

Lorraine Lipscombe (Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, Canada) and colleagues used population-based data from Ontario, Canada, to examine trends in diabetes prevalence, incidence and mortality from 1995 to 2005, to determine whether diabetes prevalence rates rose beyond predicted levels during that period. The authors found a 69% increase in diabetes prevalence between 1995 and 2005. This rise has already exceeded the 60% global increase, and the 65% Canadian increase that was projected to occur in the 35 years from 1995 to 2030. They acknowledge that Ontario might have a higher diabetes rate than other developed countries because of a high rate of immigration from regions, with more susceptible populations, such as south Asia. However, they argue that if similar trends are occurring throughout the developed world, than the size of the emerging diabetes epidemic will be far greater than anticipated.

The authors conclude: "Our data are important to enable policymakers to adequately prepare for the increasing burden of diabetes on health-care resources[accordingly] effective public-health interventions to manage and prevent obesity are sorely needed. Future research should also focus on identification of high-risk sociodemographic groups for whom specific interventions might be required."


Contact: Julie Dowdie

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