Diabetes or prediabetic conditions will strike half of all adult Americans by the end of the decade unless people lose weight, said UnitedHealth Group Inc., the largest U.S. health insurer by sales.
The disease will cost the nation almost $3.4 trillion in the 10 years through 2020, with more than 60 percent paid for by the U.S. government, according to a study released today by the Minnetonka, Minnesota-based insurer. The number of Americans with high blood sugar will rise 44 percent to 135 million in 2020, from 93.8 million in 2010, researchers said.
Diabetes is growing as the U.S. population skews older and fatter, said Simon Stevens, executive vice president of the company’s Center for Health Reform & Modernization. About 28 million adult Americans, or 12 percent, are currently diabetic while 66 million others, or 28 percent, are prediabetic, according to the study. Prediabetics can lower the odds of getting diabetes by losing weight, he said.