A growing, global problem
One-third of English adults have prediabetes
By Jill Pease
Prediabetes rates among English adults rose from about 12 percent in 2003 to 35 percent in 2011, according to the findings of a study published June 9 in BMJ Open.
“The rapid rise was exceptionally surprising and suggests that if something doesn’t happen, there is going to be a huge increase in the prevalence of diabetes,” said Arch G. Mainous III, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and chair of the department of health services research, management and policy at the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
Prediabetes is defined as having blood glucose concentrations higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. People with prediabetes have a greater risk than people with normal blood glucose levels of vascular problems, kidney disease, and nerve and retinal damage. Each year, between 5 and 10 percent of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes.
“We know that prediabetes is a major risk factor for developing diabetes,” Mainous said. “We also know that interventions in the form of medications or lifestyle changes are successful in preventing diabetes. It’s a lot better to stop diabetes before it develops.”
For the UF study, researchers analyzed data collected in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2011 by the Health Survey for England. The 2011 data showed that 35 percent of English adults and more than 50 percent of adults age 40 and older who were overweight had prediabetes.
England’s prediabetes rates are similar to those in the United States, where 36 percent of adults are estimated to have the condition, but England’s rates climbed more steeply than the United States’ over a similar time period.