Study: Diabetes among Indiana adults increasing at alarming rate

Topic: Miller College of Business

December 8, 2011

The number of Hoosiers diagnosed with diabetes is rising at an alarming rate, jumping from 3.8 percent of the state's population in 1993 to 9.8 percent today, says a new report from Ball State University.

Burden of Diabetes Among Adults in Indiana, released by the university's Global Health Institute (GHI), found that another 5.6 percent of the adult population in Indiana report having prediabetes or borderline diabetes. The study also found the number of adults reporting having diabetes increases with age and obesity and decreases as adults' income and education levels rise.

"We believe that all Hoosiers should be concerned about the alarming increase in diabetes in this state because it is a major physical and financial challenge for both individuals and their families," said Kerry Anne McGeary, GHI director and Phyllis A. Miller professor of health economics in the Miller College of Business.

She pointed out that diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death among Hoosiers. It is a major cause of heart disease and stroke and is the leading cause of kidney failure, surgical lower limb amputation and new cases of blindness in adults across the country.

"Sadly, some types of diabetes are preventable," McGeary said. "The increase over the last two decades can be attributed to poor lifestyle choices, inactivity and poor nutrition. This disease is one that Hoosiers should try to avoid to the best of their abilities."

GHI analyzed 2010 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the world's largest, on-going telephone health survey system from the Centers for Disease Control.

The study found:

  • Males (10.7 percent) are more likely to report having diabetes compared to
    females (9 percent).
  • About 21 percent of adults older than 65 have been diagnosed with diabetes as compared to 13.2 percent of those 45 to 54,  4 percent, 25 to 44 and 0.9 percent 18 to 24.
  • About 9.7 percent of non‐Hispanic adults report having diabetes compared to 6.1 percent  of Hispanic adults.
  • About 15.9 percent of African-American adults report having diabetes compared to 9.3 percent of white adults.
  • Hoosiers with a household income of more than $75,000 annually had a much lower rate (5.7 percent) than those with  household incomes of less than $10,000 (21 percent) and those with household incomes of $10,000‐$15,000 (20 percent).

McGeary believes the number of adults with diabetes will continue to spiral without a major campaign to make Hoosiers more aware of the disease and potential ramifications.

"The average annual health care cost for a person with diabetes in this country is $11,744 as compared to $2,935 for a person without diabetes," she said. "That is an incredible impact on our health care system, which is already straining as Americans grow older and need more and more care."

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