TUESDAY, Sept. 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. obesity epidemic is a driving force behind the rising rates of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.
Researchers looked at data from five national surveys spanning from 1976 through 2010 to determine how much the increase in diabetes over time could be explained by factors such as changing distribution of race, age and obesity in U.S. adults.
The investigators found that the prevalence of diabetes in men rose from about 5 percent to more than 11 percent. In women, it rose from under 6 percent to nearly 9 percent. When the researchers looked at factors that might contribute to rising diabetes rates, obesity stood out. Although for men, it only explained about half the increase, according to the researchers.
"Overweight and obesity explained most of the increase in the prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. during this time period," said study researcher Andy Menke, an epidemiologist with Social & Scientific Systems, a private research organization.
The other factors they looked at -- age, race and ethnicity -- "had little influence on changes in diabetes prevalence [during the study time period]," he said.
The study is published in the Sept. 2 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Known risk factors for type 2 diabetes include excess weight, a sedentary lifestyle and age, according to the ADA. Race is also a known risk factor, with blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders experiencing higher rates of type
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