Science and Tech


Study: 1.3 billion people could be living with diabetes by 2050

People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease.
A person tests their blood sugar.
Posted at 11:59 AM, Jun 23, 2023

The number of people with diabetes worldwide is expected to double in the next two decades. 

According to a study published in the Lancet medical journal, the number of adults living with diabetes is expected to reach 1.3 billion by the year 2050. 

This is potentially a major crisis as people with the disease are at higher risk for heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease. 

The study in the Lancet says marginalized communities will be the most impacted by the surge in diabetes, noting that 3 in 4 adults with the disease will come from low-income and middle-income countries.

A volunteer uses glucometer to test the blood sugar level of a man at a free diabetes check-up.

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"The world has failed to understand the social nature of diabetes and underestimated the true scale and threat the disease poses," an editorial accompanying the Lancet study says.

Even in wealthier countries, diabetes is a problem. In the U.S., 28.5 million adults have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the next 30 years, the Lancet study says the prevalence of diabetes in U.S. minority groups will be one to five times higher than in White groups.

The CDC says 96 million Americans have prediabetes, where blood sugars are higher than normal. Health officials say people can prevent a diabetes diagnosis by making lifestyle changes that include eating healthier and adding more physical activity to their day.