Diabetes Prevalence: County-Level
Published: July 2010
Diabetes – County-Level Prevalence
According to the latest national data released and available by the CDC in 2010, approximately 24 million people – or 8 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes. Diabetes can lead to health complications such as blindness, kidney damage, lower-limb amputation and cardiovascular disease. The risk of death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without diabetes of a similar age. The estimated annual medical cost of treating people with diagnosed diabetes is $116 billion. People who have diabetes incur medical expenses that are about 2.4 times higher than those who do not.
Importance of County-Level Data
In November 2009, the CDC released the first U.S. county-level diabetes data. This information:
- Contributes to understanding of diabetes rates in state legislative districts;
- Creates better awareness of the size and scope of the diabetes problem, which can help identify services needed to prevent and control diabetes;
- Offers better tracking of diabetes in the U.S. population, which can lead to targeted population interventions; and
- May improve understanding of the behavioral, environmental and socioeconomic conditions and patterns that lead to diabetes, potentially enabling more efficient prevention policies.
Legislative Policy Options to Consider Concerning Diabetes
- Enact policies to help prevent diabetes (e.g., increase access to affordable healthy food, opportunities for safe physical activity and education programs).
- Appropriate funding for diabetes research;
- Exempt diabetes monitoring and testing supplies from sales tax;
- Create a statewide voluntary diabetes registry to track local diabetes prevalence to facilitate targeted prevention and treatment; and
- Create a statewide plan to reduce diabetes incidence, including task force and pilot programs.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Diabetes, At A Glance 2010”; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR, “Estimated County Level Prevalence of Diabetes and Obesity–United States, 2007,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Press Release: “Number of People with Diabetes Increases to 24 Million” June 24, 2008.