#UK There’s finally some good news about one of the most troubling trends in American health


The number of adults diagnosed with diabetes is finally decreasing in the US.

Just 10 years ago, Mary Bassett, now the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health, warned that “the prevalence of diabetes is rising at an alarming rate.” In 2009, the number of diagnosed cases hit a record high of 1.73 million people aged 18-79.

But that number has since decreased to 1.4 million, according to new data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dec. 1.

Here’s the full chart showing adults diagnosed with diabetes since 1980, with a clear downward trend after 2009:

diabetes decrease cdc

It’s not yet clear why this drop has occurred. But obesity has leveled off among adults, and Americans are eating less fast food and drinking less soda.

There are also many more medications available today that can help people manage Type 2 diabetes, which may be contributing to the significant decrease in cases. (Medication can’t treat Type 1 diabetes, which has to be managed with constant blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections).

The authors of the CDC report note that the official numbers counting people with diabetes could be low, since about one in four people who have diabetes haven’t actually been diagnosed with the disease.

Dr. David M. Nathan, the director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, told The New York Times that “it’s not yet time to have a parade.” The more than 1 million adults with diabetes make it clear that we still have a ways to go to get healthier as a nation.

But we have to start somewhere.

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