A look at the numbers: diabetes in the U.S.

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

The incidence rate for diabetes keeps rising in the U.S. Since 2001, it has increased from 6.8 to 11 percent for men and from 8.8 to 12.2 percent for women. This means that more than one in every nine adults now suffers from this condition.

Today we are going to take a look at the numbers behind this increase — what are the major factors contributing to the increase?

First, here’s the map showing the states where growth has been the most significant.

The highest numbers, as well as the largest changes, are registered in the southwestern states. The one state that exhibits a particularly upsetting dynamic is New Mexico: From a (relatively) low 6.8 percent in 2001, the incidence rate here grew to 11.7 percent.

Can this growth be attributed to increasing obesity rates?

As we know, the average body mass index has increased by more than a whole point since 2001. Nevertheless, the magnitude of this change is still small compared to the numbers in question — the rise in BMI alone contributes to an increase of less than 1 percent of diabetes incidence rates.

The following chart shows how the curve linking obesity and diabetes changed between 2001 and 2014:


  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System annual survey data, 2001-2014
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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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