Friday, 18 June 2010

Diabetes Diagnoses Expected to Surge

Diabetes Diagnoses Expected to Surge

About 1.9 million Canadians could develop diabetes between 2007 and 2017, according to a new report.

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences led the report, released Wednesday. The projections work out to about nine out of 100 Canadians predicted to get diagnosed with diabetes during the 10-year period, based on their weight and other risk factors.

Using a body mass index (BMI) of between 25 and 30 to define overweight, the researchers said 712,000 cases of diabetes are predicted to develop among this group, while 247,000 cases are expected to develop among the very obese, with a BMI of more than 35.

Previously, it was thought that only highly obese people were at risk and needed to be targeted with prevention strategies. But the report shows new cases of diabetes will occur throughout society, said the study's principal investigator, Dr. Doug Manuel, a scientist at ICES and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

"If we want to make an impact, a preventive strategy will need to involve all of society," said Manuel.

"We can't rely solely on our doctors and nurses to help us prevent diabetes. We need to reaffirm our commitment to making our communities a healthy place to live."

In healthier communities, it is safer and easier to walk and better food choices are more readily available and affordable.

If Canadians 20 and older could lower their weight by 3.3 per cent, the researchers estimated, 10 per cent of new cases of diabetes could be prevented, based on data from Ontario's population.

The study also found diabetes risk increases with age.

Sex, income risk differences

Men have a higher risk of diabetes compared to women. Women with lower incomes have both a higher diabetes rate and more estimated new cases compared to women with higher incomes, while in men, the difference was smaller across income groups.

"This pattern of diabetes risk is related to differences in obesity between income levels in men and women. Women with a low income are more likely to be obese or overweight than high-income women, whereas men have less difference in BMI across income groups," the researchers wrote.

People born in Canada have a lower diabetes risk than immigrants, but more newly diagnosed cases are expected among those born in Canada since they make up a larger proportion of the country's population than immigrants, according to the report.

Those with less than secondary education also had more than twice the diabetes risk compared to people with at least some post-secondary education.

In December, the Canadian Diabetes Association said the disease is expected to cost Canada nearly $17 billion by 2020, up from more than $10 billion in 2000, expressed in 2005 dollars.

The association's report predicted the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Canada is also expected to nearly double between 2000 and 2010, from 1.3 million to 2.5 million.

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