In a major shift, new diabetes cases decline

Cause is unclear

CDC data released Tuesday show that —after decades of rising—the number of new diabetes cases in the United States has started to fall.

According to CDC, the rate of new cases dropped by about 20% from 2008, when there were 1.7 million new cases, to 2014, when there were 1.4 million new cases. Experts say the new data are the first to show a statistically significant drop in the number of new cases, although CDC has tracked smaller declines in recent years.

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The data include cases of both Type 1 (juvenile) and Type 2 diabetes.

Edward Gregg, a diabetes researcher at CDC, says, "It seems pretty clear that incidence rates have now actually started to drop." Researchers don't know why the number of cases fell but note that it is one of several signs that Americans are generally becoming healthier, Sabrina Tavernise reports for the New York Times.

Behind the shift

In recent years, soda consumption has dropped, the average number of calories Americans consume has declined, and obesity rates have held steady—after years of increase. Even so, one in 10 American adults are diabetic, twice the rate in the early 1990s. And the latest data only show a statistically significant decline in the number of cases among whites—although the data also show smaller declines for blacks and Hispanics.

On-demand webconference: A system approach to comprehensive diabetes management

David Nathan, the director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, says the fight against diabetes is far from over but that public attitudes toward the disease are changing. "It has finally entered into the consciousness of our population that the sedentary lifestyle is a real problem, that increased body weight is a real problem," he told the Times.

A shifting approach to public health may also play a role, including prevention programs funded by the federal government, universities, and others. Still, some researchers say it is unclear to what extent such programs have helped reduce the diabetes rate (Tavernise, New York Times, 12/1; Brophy Marcus, CBS News, 12/1).

How six hospitals launched diabetes management programs

As obesity and diabetes rates rise across the country, many hospitals have developed outpatient diabetes centers. Projections estimate that by 2050, one in three Americans will have diabetes. The most progressive hospitals have combined diabetes treatment, education, wound care, ophthalmology, and other services into comprehensive programs.

In this briefing, we profiled six leading institutions have successfully integrated outpatient diabetes services into their primary care networks. Read it now to learn how an effectively implemented program can benefit PCPs who may otherwise be unable to provide quality diabetes care to their patients and help your organization set itself apart from the competition.

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