Previous studies have shown increasing prevalence of diabetes in the United States. New US data are available to estimate prevalence of and trends in diabetes.
To estimate the recent prevalence and update US trends in total diabetes, diagnosed diabetes, and undiagnosed diabetes using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Cross-sectional surveys conducted between 1988-1994 and 1999-2012 of nationally representative samples of the civilian, noninstitutionalized US population; 2781 adults from 2011-2012 were used to estimate recent prevalence and an additional 23 634 adults from 1988-2010 were used to estimate trends.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The prevalence of diabetes was defined using a previous diagnosis of diabetes or, if diabetes was not previously diagnosed, by (1) a hemoglobin A1c level of 6.5% or greater or a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) level of 126 mg/dL or greater (hemoglobin A1c or FPG definition) or (2) additionally including 2-hour plasma glucose (2-hour PG) level of 200 mg/dL or greater (hemoglobin A1c, FPG, or 2-hour PG definition). Prediabetes was defined as a hemoglobin A1c level of 5.7% to 6.4%, an FPG level of 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL, or a 2-hour PG level of 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL.
In the overall 2011-2012 population, the unadjusted prevalence (using the hemoglobin A1c, FPG, or 2-hour PG definitions for diabetes and prediabetes) was 14.3% (95% CI, 12.2%-16.8%) for total diabetes, 9.1% (95% CI, 7.8%-10.6%) for diagnosed diabetes, 5.2% (95% CI, 4.0%-6.9%) for undiagnosed diabetes, and 38.0% (95% CI, 34.7%-41.3%) for prediabetes; among those with diabetes, 36.4% (95% CI, 30.5%-42.7%) were undiagnosed. The unadjusted prevalence of total diabetes (using the hemoglobin A1c or FPG definition) was 12.3% (95% CI, 10.8%-14.1%); among those with diabetes, 25.2% (95% CI, 21.1%-29.8%) were undiagnosed. Compared with non-Hispanic white participants (11.3% [95% CI, 9.0%-14.1%]), the age-standardized prevalence of total diabetes (using the hemoglobin A1c, FPG, or 2-hour PG definition) was higher among non-Hispanic black participants (21.8% [95% CI, 17.7%-26.7%]; P < .001), non-Hispanic Asian participants (20.6% [95% CI, 15.0%-27.6%]; P = .007), and Hispanic participants (22.6% [95% CI, 18.4%-27.5%]; P < .001). The age-standardized percentage of cases that were undiagnosed was higher among non-Hispanic Asian participants (50.9% [95% CI, 38.3%-63.4%]; P = .004) and Hispanic participants (49.0% [95% CI, 40.8%-57.2%]; P = .02) than all other racial/ethnic groups. The age-standardized prevalence of total diabetes (using the hemoglobin A1c or FPG definition) increased from 9.8% (95% CI, 8.9%-10.6%) in 1988-1994 to 10.8% (95% CI, 9.5%-12.0%) in 2001-2002 to 12.4% (95% CI, 10.8%-14.2%) in 2011-2012 (P < .001 for trend) and increased significantly in every age group, in both sexes, in every racial/ethnic group, by all education levels, and in all poverty income ratio tertiles.
Conclusions and Relevance
In 2011-2012, the estimated prevalence of diabetes was 12% to 14% among US adults, depending on the criteria used, with a higher prevalence among participants who were non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic. Between 1988-1994 and 2011-2012, the prevalence of diabetes increased in the overall population and in all subgroups evaluated.