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Diabetes is prevalent and costly in Washington State. A complex condition related to harmful blood glucose levels, diabetes is the leading cause of hospitalizations in our state and a contributing factor to serious health outcomes such as amputations or blindness.
About one in seven adults in Washington State have diabetes. In addition, an estimated one in three have prediabetes. Of particular concern: one out of four people with diabetes, and three out of four people with prediabetes do not know they have it. Diabetes is more prevalent among certain groups including racial and ethnic minorities and those with lower income and education levels.
A multifaceted approach to diabetes management and prevention, with special attention to health equity, is vital to improving population health in our state.
Current Health Status
Diabetes rates have increased steadily over the past two decades, statewide and nationally. Washington rates have been slightly lower than national levels since 2011 but are still high at 8 percent of the population, and rates continue to increase in some populations. Additionally, nearly two million adults in Washington have prediabetes, 15 percent to 30 percent of whom will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
Twenty percent of Washington adults over age 65 have diagnosed diabetes. Age is a factor in diabetes and is of particular concern considering the state’s aging population; the state Office of Financial Management forecasts a doubling of the population over age 65 in Washington State by 2030.
On the other end of the age spectrum, an estimated 4,500 Washington State youth have diagnosed diabetes. National data indicate that diabetes in youth is increasing along with childhood obesity rates. Obesity is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes costs an estimated $8 billion a year in Washington State, including direct and indirect costs. This is projected to increase to more than $13 billion in 2030. Interventions to improve management and prevention of diabetes can reduce economic burden on our state while greatly improving quality of life for those affected by the condition.
A Population Health Driver Diagram is a tool to organize strategies around desired change. This example, developed by a multi-sector team of partners, identifies Secondary Drivers in each of the Three Buckets of Prevention. It may be tailored to the individual needs and resources of your community and populations.
Contact us at P4IPH@doh.wa.gov