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Important Facts for Diabetes Prevalence


Percentage of Utah adults (18+) diagnosed with diabetes.


Number of Utah adults who reported being told by a health care professional that they have diabetes (excludes women who were told they had diabetes only during pregnancy or those who reported they had "borderline" or pre-diabetes).


Utah adults 18 and over.

Data Interpretation Issues

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the primary source for estimating diabetes prevalence for Utah. The BRFSS is a telephone survey that includes only adults 18 and over.

Why Is This Important?

About 135,000 Utahns have been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that can have devastating consequences. It is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower-extremity amputation and renal failure. It is also the leading cause of blindness among adults younger than 75. It is one of the leading causes of heart disease.

Diabetes places an enormous burden on health care resources, approximately $245 billion annually (in direct medical costs and in indirect costs such as disability, work loss, and premature mortality). (See American Diabetes Association, In Utah, more than a billion dollars each year are spent on direct and indirect costs of diabetes.

A model using simulated data projected that diabetes incidence will increase from the current rate of 8 cases per 1,000 population to about 15 in 2050. Prevalence of diabetes (including undiagnosed cases) can be as high as one of three Americans by 2050 (

Currently, about 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts them at high risk for developing diabetes. For many individuals, taking small steps, such as losing 5-7 percent of their weight or increasing physical activity, can help them delay or prevent developing diabetes.

Healthy People Objective D-1:

Reduce the annual number of new cases of diagnosed diabetes in the population
U.S. Target: 7.2 new cases per 1,000 population aged 18 to 84 years
State Target: 7.2 new cases per 1,000 population aged 18 to 84 years

Other Objectives

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) notes that the burden of diabetes in the United States has increased with the increasing prevalence of obesity. Multiple long-term complications of diabetes can be prevented through improved patient education and self-management, and provision of adequate and timely screening services, and medical care.

Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) emphasizes reducing the incidence of diabetes. HP 2020 Objective D-1 is "Reduce the annual number of new cases of diagnosed diabetes in the population."

How Are We Doing?

The prevalence of diabetes has risen and will likely continue to rise steadily, both nationally and in Utah. Several factors contribute to this increase. Increasing rates of obesity and sedentary lifestyles add to the number of people at risk for developing diabetes, while improvements in medical care mean people with diabetes are living longer (see

How Do We Compare With U.S.?

An estimated total of nearly 25.8 million people in the U.S. have diabetes (8.3 percent of the population, including children). Of these, 18.8 million people are diagnosed, and about 7 million are still undiagnosed. In Utah, about 135,000 adults have been diagnosed.

According to the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), more than nine percent (9.3%) of U.S. adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared to 7.9 percent of Utah adults. (Note: these rates are age-adjusted; in other words, there are artificial rates used to compare the prevalence of diabetes between the U.S. and Utah if the age distributions of both populations were the same).

A large cohort of individuals have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar rates are elevated but not yet high enough to reach the clinical threshold of a diabetes diagnosis. An estimated 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Unless those individuals take steps to reduce their risk of diabetes, such as increasing physical activity, eating a more nutritious diet, or losing weight, the majority will have diabetes within 10 years.

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP) works to increase public awareness of the warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors for developing diabetes. The program seeks innovative ways to encourage people at risk to recognize that they may be at risk and need to be tested. The program is promoting A1C awareness among people already diagnosed with diabetes and has produced television and radio public service announcements stressing the urgency of getting A1C levels under control. The program also developed a brochure, "Wish You Could Reverse Time?" to complement its public service announcements. The DPCP, in conjunction with the Utah Health Plan Partnership, has also developed magnets to remind Utahns with diabetes of the importance of managing their ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels). The Program also assists community-based organizations as they work to increase awareness of diabetes and its risk factors among members of their populations.

The DPCP initiated a program, Faces of Diabetes, that allows individuals to post their personal experiences with diabetes online. This resource allows viewers to learn about diabetes management and challenges by listening to others' stories. Visit Faces of Diabetes at

The Arthritis Program supports Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs throughout the state. (This program is also called the Living Well with Chronic Conditions Program.) This six-week program is usually available at no cost and taught by community members. Information is available from Rebecca Castleton, 801-538-9340,

Evidence-based Practices

Diabetes Self-Management Classes have been shown to improve blood sugar control among participants. In Utah, programs are available that have are recognized by the American Diabetes Association, certified by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, or certified by the State of Utah.

Other Program Information

Packets of information about diabetes, including a brochure describing A1C exams, are available at no charge from the Utah Department of Health Resource Line, 1-888-222-2542. The program website,, lists the contact information for diabetes education programs throughout the state.

The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Fri, 21 November 2014 4:51:42 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 23:09:22 MST