Diabetes Rate Now Approaching 20% for Seniors, Low Income, Middle-​Aged Blacks and Hispanics

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Gallup and Sharecare 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 U.S.

According to the Gallup-​Sharecare Well-​Being Index™, the national prevalence of diabetes climbed to a new high of 11.6% in 2016, up from 10.6% in 2008 when Gallup and Sharecare began measurement. If the diabetes rate had held steady at its 2008 level rather than having increased, 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, but instead asks U.S. adults: Has a doctor or nurse ever told you that you have diabetes?

Health professionals who want to spread awareness for diabetes prevention can consider advertising during and sponsoring state/​county fairs. The new AudienceSCAN survey found 25% of Diabetics plan to attend fairs this year.

Key findings include:
  • Diabetes rates rise alarmingly with age; seniors (age 65 and up) have a 23.6% prevalence of diabetes.
  • Among regions in the U.S., the South has the highest prevalence of diabetes (12.8%); the West has the lowest prevalence (10.3%).
  • Among the four major race and ethnic groups in the U.S., the diabetes rate is highest among blacks (14.7%) and lowest among Asians (5.7%).
  • 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.

The health sector can promote fitness to maintain and prevent diabetes. 15% of Diabetics said they enjoy bowling in the new AudienceSCAN study, and 14% like hiking/​walking long distances for health.

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 who are at the greatest risk.

Marketers could reach Diabetics through newspapers. The new AudienceSCAN research revealed 29% of Diabetics took action after reading Newspaper (print, online, mobile or tablet) advertising in the past month.

“Our objectives for diabetes need to move beyond treating symptoms, and focus on slowing the progression of the disease and lowering its prevalence,” said 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.”
AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.