What Population Is Most Affected by Diabetes?

Medically Reviewed on 4/9/2021

Diabetes can affect anyone, but certain ethnic groups are more affected by it than others.
Diabetes can affect anyone, but certain ethnic groups are more affected by it than others.

Diabetes can affect anyone, but certain ethnic groups are more affected by it than others. As per the statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2020, the American Indians or the Alaska Natives are the most affected by diabetes than all other ethnic groups. Among people of different ages, 65 years and older seem to be the most affected with 25% of them having diabetes.

Rates of diabetes among different population groups

Population Group

Prevalence of Diagnosed Diabetes (in %)

American Indians/Alaska Natives

14.7

Non-Hispanic Blacks

11.7

Hispanics

12.5

Non-Hispanic Asians

9.2

Non-Hispanic Whites

7.5

Adults aged between 18 and 44 years

4.2

Adults aged between 45 and 64 years

17.5

Adults aged ≥65 years

26.8

US adults with less than a high school education

13.3

US adults with a high school education

9.7

US adults with more than a high school education

7.5

What increases your risk of diabetes?

Diabetes has been classified into four types:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is believed to be a hereditary, autoimmune disorder when the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own cells. You can get type 1 diabetes at any age, but it is more likely to develop in children and teenagers. You are at an increased risk of diabetes

  • if you have a close relative such as a mother, father, or sibling with type 1 diabetes.
  • If you are a White American.

African Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes than Whites (more likely to develop type 2 diabetes).

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder. Middle-aged and old-age people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes due to increased risk with aging. Other factors that put at risk for diabetes include:

  • Prediabetes
  • Overweight
  • Age ≥45 years
  • Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity (exercising less than thrice a week)
  • History of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Having delivered a baby weighing more than 9 lbs
  • Belonging to a particular ethnic group
    • African American
    • Hispanic/Latino American
    • American Indian
    • Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans)
  • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Prediabetes

Prediabetes is the condition when you have elevated levels of blood sugar but not as high as to reach the diagnosis of diabetes. You are at risk for diabetes if you

  • Are overweight or obese.
  • Are aged ≥45 years.
  • Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
  • Are not physically active (exercising less than thrice a week).
  • Have a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy).
  • Have delivered a baby weighing more than 9 lbs.
  • Belong to a particular ethnic group
    • African American
    • Hispanic/Latino American
    • American Indian
    • Alaska Native
    • Pacific Islanders
    • Asian Americans

Gestational diabetes

The type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. You’re at risk for developing gestational diabetes if you

  • Are overweight.
  • Have a close family member such as a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
  • Had gestational diabetes during any of your previous pregnancies.
  • Have delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 lbs.
  • Are more than 25 years old.
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Belong to a particular ethnic group
    • African American
    • Hispanic/Latino American
    • American Indian
    • Alaska Native
    • Native Hawaiian
    • Pacific Islander

Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy but increases your as well as your baby’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later years.

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Medically Reviewed on 4/9/2021
References
National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf

Diabetes Risk Factors. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/risk-factors.html#: