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Health Indicator Report of Diabetes Prevalence

Almost 145,000 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 is spent annually [in direct medical costs ($176 billion) and in indirect costs ($69 billion) such as disability, work loss, and premature death]. (See ''[ National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014]''). 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 nationwide. Prevalence of diabetes (including undiagnosed cases) can be as high as one of three Americans by 2050 (see []). Currently, about 80 million Americans aged 20 and older 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.
Data for the local health districts (LHDs) use three years of combined data so that reliable estimates for most LHDs can be obtained. The highest age-adjusted rate was seen for San Juan Local Health District, with a rate of 10.7%. However, this estimate should be interpreted with caution, as it has a relative standard error of greater than 30% and is deemed unreliable by the Utah Department of Health. Two other LHDs had the second highest rate, Tooele County and TriCounty Local Health Districts, both with a rate of 9.0% of adults. Three LHDs had rates significantly lower than the state: Summit County (3.3%), Wasatch County (5.5%), and Southwest Utah (6.1%). The overall rate for the state is 7.6% with three years of data combined (2013-2015).

Adults With Diabetes by Local Health District, Utah, 2013-2015


"Don't know" and "Refused" responses were eliminated from the denominator.   Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population. *Use caution in interpreting; the estimate has a coefficient of variation > 30% and is therefore deemed unreliable by Utah Department of Health standards. Prior to 2015 San Juan County was part of the Southeast Local Health District. In 2015 the San Juan County Local Health District was formed. Data reported are for all years using the current boundaries.

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health

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 (with interviews using both landline and cell phones) that includes only adults 18 and over.


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.

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 []). A large number 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 86 million Americans age 20 and older 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.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

According to the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Utah adults have an age-adjusted rate of 7.5% of diagnosed with diabetes, compared to the U.S. age-adjusted rate of 9.4%. (Note: An age-adjusted rate is an artificial rate used to make comparisons between groups with different age distributions. Diabetes is higher in the older age groups. Since Utah has a larger percentage of the population that is young, the rate of diabetes would naturally be lower. Age-adjusting removes the difference in rates that would be due to differences in the age structures).

What Is Being Done?

The Healthy Living through Environment, Policy, and Improved Clinical Care (EPICC) Program encourages people with diabetes to enroll in a diabetes self-management education class. These classes are usually taught by a dietitian, pharmacist, or certified diabetes educator, and have been shown to help individuals develop the skills they need to manage their diabetes. The Utah Arthritis Program supports Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs and Diabetes Self-Management Programs throughout the state. (This program is also called the Living Well with Chronic Conditions Program.) This six-week program is available throughout the state 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 are recognized by the American Diabetes Association or certified by the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Available Services

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is an excellent resource for all types of information on diabetes. Call 1-800-DIABETES or visit the website at []. The ADA site also has a list of diabetes screening locations locally. The National Diabetes Education Program ([]) has resources for diabetes management for professionals, businesses, and patients. Most materials are available upon request at no charge.

Health Program Information

The Utah Department of Health Resource Line can provide information about enrolling in diabetes self-management classes. Call 1-888-222-2542 for more information.
Page Content Updated On 12/02/2016, Published on 12/15/2016
The information provided above is from the 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, 20 October 2017 11:59:16 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 16:36:23 MDT