The researchers felt that the lifestyle interventions that can be used to reduce or prevent the prevalence of obesity among people at risk for diabetes are needed to halt the increasing incidence of this disease.
The researchers used data on National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) of the National Centre for Health Statistics & Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, from the 1997-2003 to perform the analyses. They asked 31,000 people between the ages of 18 and 79 whether a health professional had ever told them they had diabetes (not including gestational diabetes in pregnant women). They found that annually, about 2000 people reported a diagnosis of diabetes.
Linda S. Geiss stated in the article, that among the adults aged 18-79 years, the incidence of diagnosed diabetes increased 41% from 1997 to 2003. During this period they also noted that incidence increased at a greater rate among obese people, showing that obesity, being more prevalent among incident cases at the end of the time period than at the beginning. She felt that with these data it could be safely suggested that obesity is a large factor even if not the sole factor in increasing incidence of diagnosed diabetes.
The researchers also studied if the increased diagnosis nowadays, was due to improved diabetes detection, which might be inflating the true incidence. The authors studied the health status of 1997-1998 of incident cases comparing them to the health status of 2002-2003 incident cases. They found that no significant differences were found in the prevalence of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, or poor or fair health status. They also argued that from 1997 to 2003, when diabetes incidence increased by 41%, the incident cases did not become remarkably healthier or younger, which they say can be expected if the argument that the increased incidence mainly due to improved diabetes detection.
The study concludes, that between 1997 and 2003, the incidence of diagnosed diabetes among U.S. adults increased in a very rapid rate. This increase it said was not accompanied by large improvements in the health status of incident cases. The study therefore suggests that obesity is a major factor in increasing incidence and that incident cases of diabetes are becoming more obese. Recent clinical trials have also found that lifestyle changes like moderate weight loss and exercise can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes among high-risk adults.