Obesity Contributing to Increased Diabetes Prevalence

(HealthDay News) — The U.S. obesity epidemic is a driving force behind the rising rates of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The new study included information from U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, representing nearly 24,000 men and women, aged 20 to 74 years. Researchers looked at data from five national surveys spanning from 1976 through 2010 to determine how much the increase in diabetes over time could be explained by factors such as changing distribution of race, age and obesity in U.S. adults.

The prevalence of diabetes in men rose from about 5% to more than 11%, the investigators found. In women, it rose from under 6% to nearly 9%. 

When the researchers looked at factors that might contribute to rising diabetes rates, obesity stood out. Although for men, it only explained about half the increase, according to the researchers.

“Overweight and obesity explained most of the increase in the prevalence of diabetes in the United States during this time period,” study researcher Andy Menke, PhD, an epidemiologist with Social & Scientific Systems, a private research organization, told HealthDay

The other factors they looked at — age, race and ethnicity — “had little influence on changes in diabetes prevalence [during the study time period],” he said.


  1. Menke A et al. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(5):328-335.