Making the Business Case


  • Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, and about one-fourth of them don't know that they have the disease.
  • By 2050, an estimated 39 million U.S. residents are expected to have diagnosed diabetes.
  • American Indians, African Americans, and Hispanics are about 2 times more likely than whites to have diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes, once believed to affect only adults, is being diagnosed increasingly among young people.
  • One in three U.S. children born in 2000 could develop diabetes during their lifetime.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death. Over 200,000 people die each year of diabetes-related complications.
  • Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure, new blindness in adults, and leg and foot amputations unrelated to injury.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, which are responsible for about 65% of deaths among people with diabetes.
  • Periodontal disease is more common in people with diabetes. Almost one third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal disease. Persons with poorly controlled diabetes (A1c>9%) were nearly 3 times more likely to have severe periodontitis than those without diabetes.
  • About 18,000 women with preexisting diabetes deliver babies each year, and 135,000 expectant mothers learn they have gestational diabetes. Diabetes increases a woman’s risk for pregnancy complications and increases her child’s risk for obesity and diabetes later in life.
  • Prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in the United States: Age 20 or older: 10.7% of all people in this age group have diabetes.
  • Age 60 years or older: 23.1% of all people in this age group have diabetes.
  • An estimated 57 million Americans have a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes—a condition known as pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have impaired fasting glucose (IFG), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), or both.


  • Total costs (direct and indirect): $174 billion
  • Direct medical costs: $116 billion
  • Indirect costs: $58 billion (disability, work loss, premature death)
  • People with diagnosed diabetes, have average expenditures of $11,744 per year of which $6,649 is attributed to diabetes.
  • People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures that are 2.3 times higher than expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes

These data are based on a study for the American Diabetes Association. (American Diabetes Association Economic Costs of Diabetes in the US in 2007, Diabetes Care, 31: 596-615, 2008.


  • Regular eye exams and timely treatment could prevent up to 90% of diabetes-related blindness
  • Foot care programs that include regular examinations and patient education could prevent up to 85% of diabetes-related amputations
  • Treatment to better control blood pressure can reduce heart disease and stroke by 33%–50% and diabetes-related kidney failure by 33%
  • Diet and exercise that achieves a 5- to 7% weight loss can reduce diabetes incidence by 58%. 
Making the Business Case for Diabetes Prevention and Management
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.