The face of diabetes in the United States

By RNL Editors | 07/26/2017

Gallup-Sharecare research reveals disparities, increase in prevalence across multiple demographics.

The face of diabetes in the United States
Gallup, a leading analytics and advice firm, and Sharecare, the digital health company helping people manage all their health in one place, have released new research examining the prevalence of diabetes across demographics, occupations, and regions. The new report, “Gallup-Sharecare State of American Well-Being: The Face of Diabetes in the United States,” provides a detailed profile of the disease across the United States.

The face of diabetes in the United StatesAccording to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index™, the national prevalence of diabetes climbed to a new high of 11.6 percent in 2016, up from 10.6 percent in 2008, when Gallup and Sharecare began measurement. If the diabetes rate had held steady at its 2008 level, 2.5 million fewer U.S. adults would have the disease today. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index™ does not differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; instead, it asks U.S. adults, “Has a doctor or nurse ever told you that you have diabetes?”

Key findings include:

  • Diabetes rates rise alarmingly with age; seniors (age 65 and up) have a 23.6 percent prevalence of diabetes.
  • Among regions in the U.S., the South has the highest prevalence of diabetes (12.8 percent); the West has the lowest prevalence (10.3 percent).
  • Among the four major race and ethnic groups in the U.S., the diabetes rate is highest among blacks (14.7 percent) and lowest among Asians (5.7 percent).
  • Income and education levels have an inverse relationship with diabetes—prevalence falls as education and income levels rise.
  • Those who are divorced, separated, or widowed have much higher prevalence of diabetes than those who are single, married, or in a domestic partnership. This pattern is likely due to age, as those who are divorced, separated, or widowed tend to be older than those who are single, married, or in a domestic partnership.
  • Among occupations, transportation workers have the highest self-reported diabetes rate, while physicians have the lowest rate.
  • A special analysis based on key risk factors reveals that transportation workers—as well as workers in manufacturing/production, installation/repair, and construction/mining—are at highest risk for new onset diabetes.

Some hospitals, health systems, health plans, and employers are now taking a proactive approach to diabetes education, management, and prevention. By shedding light on where diabetes rates exceed the national average, these data can help leaders target investments and customize programs that address specific populations at greatest risk.

“Our objectives for diabetes need to move beyond treating symptoms and focus on slowing the progression of the disease and lowering its prevalence,” says Sheila Holcomb, vice president, Sharecare Diabetes Solutions. “Collaborative efforts between providers, employers, and community leaders to prevent and manage diabetes, especially in communities with high-risk populations, can and do change the trajectory of diabetes and help those with the disease have higher quality of life.”

The research in “Gallup-Sharecare State of American Well-Being: The Face of Diabetes in the United States” is based on a subset of 177,192 telephone interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted from 2 January 2016 to 30 December 2016. Gallup conducted 500 telephone interviews per day with randomly selected Americans to gather their perceptions of their own well-being for a resulting sample that projects to an estimated 95 percent of U.S. adults.

For more information and to access the complete report, visit

About the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index
The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index is the world’s largest data set on well-being, with over 2.5 million surveys fielded to date. The Well-Being Index is frequently cited by national media and has been leveraged by Nobel laureates and academicians for peer-review and scholarly articles.

Sources: Gallup and Sharecare

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