Diabetes rates set to rise sharply

Unless new strategies are implemented to help reduce the number of obese individuals, the rate of type 2 diabetes is going to skyrocket in the coming years, according to a new report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.

According to the findings, which were published in Population Health Metrics, diabetes rates are set to explode. Under the best case scenario modeled by researchers, the percentage of the U.S. population affected by the condition will rise from the current level of 14 percent to 21 percent by 2050.

However, if nothing is done to curb the rates of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, the percentage of the population affected by diabetes could rise to 33 percent.

Researchers wrote that the aging population, rising numbers of high-risk minority groups and the fact that individuals with type 2 diabetes are living longer are the leading causes for these increases. The condition cost the U.S. more than $174 billion in 2007, making it a large public health concern.

"Effective strategies will need to be undertaken to moderate the impact of these factors on national diabetes burden," the authors wrote. "Our analysis suggests that widespread implementation of reasonably effective preventive interventions focused on high-risk subgroups of the population can considerably reduce, but not eliminate, future increases in diabetes prevalence."