Diabetes-Free Life Expectancy at 18 Years Down Since 1980s

Diabetes-free life expectancy declined between 1980s and 2000s, with greatest losses for obese

MONDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The diabetes-free life expectancy at 18 years of age in the United States decreased in both men and women between the 1980s and 2000s, with obese individuals experiencing the greatest losses, according to a study published in the October issue of Diabetes Care.

Solveig A. Cunningham, Ph.D., from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues investigated the changes in diabetes-free life expectancy for men and women in the United States between 1980 and 1989 and between 2000 and 2004. The contribution of these changes to age-specific diabetes rates, and the changing effects of weight status on diabetes risks were also assessed.

The investigators found that the life expectancy for men and women at age 18 years increased between the 1980s and the 2000s. However, at age 18, the diabetes-free life expectancy decreased by 1.7 years for men and 1.5 years for women. The proportion of 18-year-olds likely to develop diabetes in their lifetime almost doubled for men, and increased by nearly 50 percent for women. The greatest losses in diabetes-free life expectancy were found in obese individuals during this period, with an estimated loss of 5.6 years for men and 2.5 years for women.

"Diabetes-free life expectancy decreased for both men and women between 1980 to 1989 and 2000 to 2004, and these decreases are almost entirely attributable to large increases in diabetes incidence among obese individuals," the authors write.

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