News article

Study finds pre-diabetes rate in England almost as high as U.S

Posted:  Monday, June 16, 2014

According to a study, almost one-third of the adults in England suffer from pre-diabetes, bringing the country almost on par with the rates in the United States. According to Professor Arch Mainous of University of Florida's College of Public Health and Health Professions, there has been a sharp increase in the number of pre-diabetes patients, it rose from 12% in 2003 to 35% in 2011. Whereas the United States has shown an increase of 36% of pre-diabetic adults in the U.S.

Pre-diabetes is a blood sugar disorder wherein the body, shows glucose levels higher than normal, but lower than the limit to be considered as diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a high risk condition where the risk of becoming a diabetic and developing its complications is very high. The complications attack the organs causing vascular complications, nephropathy, retinopathy and neuropathies. Additionally, a considerable number of individuals with pre-diabetes progress to diabetes. In particular, between 5% and 10% of people with pre-diabetes progress to diabetes each year.

The pre-diabetic population of England fell in the age group of 40 or older and half of population within the age group were found to be overweight.

"The study is an important signal that we need to take action to improve our diet and lifestyles," Baker said in a statement. "If we don't, many people will have less healthy, shorter lives." Mainous's co-author in the study, Richard Baker, professor of quality in healthcare at the University of Leicester, said the results should be taken as a wake-up call.

The likely rise of an obese population in England in the 1990’s, a trend that emerged much later than it did in America. Manious suggested that the rapid increase of a pre-diabetic population has arisen from this trend.

This sharp increase in such a short time span is of much concern and particularly disturbing because it suggests that transformation on a population can happen in a relatively short time span.

"These findings are particularly problematic given the strong association of prediabetes with overweight and obesity, given recent remarks by CMO (chief medical officer) Sally Davies that overweight and obese has become the new normal for England." *

The lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle coupled with diabetes have shown significant changes in the metabolic system of the body that results in pre-diabetes.

Mainous said that better detection was one possible strategy. "People are not likely to change their behaviour when they are at risk of disease unless they know that they are at risk. We know that diet and lifestyle changes are effective interventions for pre-diabetes and can even get folks back to normal glycaemic levels," he said. *

The data for this study was collected and analysed from four years of the Health Survey for England – 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2011 – and included more than 20,000 people, who had given blood samples.