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Diabetes on the decline

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For the first time in a long time, new cases of diabetes are on the decline.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of new diagnoses declined by roughly 20 percent between 2008 and 2014. There were 1.4 million new cases in 2014, compared to 1.7 million in 2008.

The good news on diabetes coincides with other studies that suggest Americans are adopting healthier diets and exercising more. While a recent report showed that the overall obesity rate has continued to climb over the past decade, the child obesity rate has stabilized at roughly 17 percent.

The decline in diabetes appears to be driven largely by the well-to-do. The declining rates were statistically significant among the most educated Americans and white Americans. The number of new cases for African Americans, Hispanics and those with only a high school degree also declined, but CDC is not ready to declare them statistically significant because the decrease hasn’t been as steady and the margin of error for such groups was larger.

There is not a significant difference between the number of new cases for men and women. The 2014 figures showed 6.8 new cases for every 1,000 men, compared to 6.5 for every 1,000 women. In some past years, however, women have reported higher rates than men.

The great majority of new diabetes diagnoses come from middle age and older Americans. The rate of new cases for those between the age of 18-44 is only 3.2 per 1,000, compared to 10.5 for those between 45-64 and 12.1 for those 65 and above.

“It’s not yet time to have a parade,” Dr. David Nathan, the director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the New York Times.

He added, however: “It has finally entered into the consciousness of our population that the sedentary lifestyle is a real problem, that increased body weight is a real problem.”