CDC Claims Diabetes Prevalence Rises 100% in 18 States - Raising (Exaggerated) Alarm?

Kelly Close of CloseConcerns just reported on a recent CDC report

"In the November 16th issue of the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report", the CDC reported that between 1995 and 2010, the age-adjusted prevalence of self-reported diagnosed diabetes increased in every state, by a median of 82%. While in 1995, only three states had diabetes prevalance over six%, by 2010, diabetes prevalence exceeded 6% in every sate and diabetes prevalence was over 10% in six states. Strikingly, the prevalence rose by at least 100% in 18 states and by at least 50% in 42 states. The five states with the greatest increases were: 1) Oklahoma (227%), 2) Kentucky (158%), 3) Georgia (145%), 4) Alabama (140%), and 5) Washington (135%). Regionally, in line with past studies, the CDC found that the South had the greatest increase in prevalence, followed by the West, Midwest, and Northeast. For more - and to see how your state fared - see the CDC's report here."

I read the report and am bit concerned about such quotes in numbers. The ADA and WHO changed the diagnostic criteria (in 1997 and 1998 respectively) by reducing the threshold for fasting blood sugar from 140 mg/dl to 126 mg/dl. Given this change and the timing, it seems misleading to quote apples and oranges comparing 1995 to 2010. The report even indicates that part of this increase in incidence is likely a result of changed criteria. And these are age adjusted rates, since diabetics are living longer, older populations will have higher rates. I'm not saying it isn't serious, but this data doesn't really say anything about how big the increase is in actual new cases of diabetes.

While I am alarmed about such reports, I'm also not sure about how much this is real. What do you think?

Without accounting for the change in criteria these numbers are less than useful. You'd think the CDC would have higher standards. Lies, damn lies and statistics I guess.

What really bothers me is once again lumping all “diabetes” together. It just reeks of bad science. I expect this of the media, but not the CDC. Note that there is a single line that says, “Finally, these estimates of diagnosed diabetes do not differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, because type 2 diabetes accounts for 90%–95% of all diabetes (1), the results presented should reflect type 2 diabetes trends.”

This article should have “type 2” in the title so it’s clear what is being discussed.

In any event, not withstanding the prior above excellent comments; I suggest it is safe to say we are not making great inroads solving the problem otherwise the total jump should have been small assuming all affected groups are increasing slowly as modern medicine science gets a proper hold of the problem.

And if the problem is type 2 - I suggest we are not pursuing effective treatments and solutions in that arena.

I don't find a lot of comfort in the thought that these are the same "experts" that will be weighing in heavily on what types of treatment are necesary, and cost effective for all Americans now... when they can't even evaluate a set of data at the 7th grade level.


The lies, damn lies, statistics may be working in our favour since it may attract political attention. I agree with you the dramatically changed criteria make nonsense of the resulting trend.


Good points. I am sadly only mildly surprised that a news organization didn't ask what the rate increases would have been with the old threshold. As you said, this would have provided a more direct comparison.

Regardless, I think there has been ample data worldwide to indicate we are heading for a crisis - a "Glucose Cliff" if you will.

What really concerns me is that undoubtedly the only official way to combat this will be to prescribe medication, instead of figure out what the cause is. If Nora Gedgaudas (Primal Body, Primal Mind) and other low-carb advocates are correct, the problem could be corrected without spending much money. But you know it won't happen that way. All these new diabetics will require at least $200 a month worth of medication that won't work in the long run because they'll still be eating the wrong stuff. The only thing these statistics indicate to me is that drug companies will be doing great.