Diabetes is common, serious, and costly in Washington State. A complex condition related to harmful blood glucose levels, diabetes is the leading cause of deaths in our state and a contributing factor to serious health outcomes such as amputations or blindness.

About one in eight 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, are not aware of their condition. 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

After nearly doubling over the last two decades, the continued growth in the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes (the total percentage of adults with disease at a given time) may be beginning to slow as of 2011, remaining around nine percent through 2017 in Washington State. Similarly, the rate of newly diagnosed cases has also remained stable at eight per 1,000 adults from 2014 to 2017. Although the prevalence and incidence of diagnosed diabetes among adults is not growing dramatically each year, the numbers with diabetes still remains substantial and some high-risk subgroups may experience continued increases over time. 

About 19 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 2,970 Washington State youth have diagnosed diabetes. National data indicate that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in youth is increasing, along with childhood obesity rates. Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes costs an estimated $6.7 billion a year in Washington State, including direct health care and reduced productivity costs. Interventions to improve management and prevention of diabetes can reduce the economic burden on our state while greatly improving the quality of life for those affected by the condition.

Additionally, nearly two million adults in Washington have prediabetes, of whom 15 to 30 percent will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

Diabetes Resources

Current Work and Initiatives

Emerging Issues

Health Equity Concerns

Key Data and Sources

Recommended Strategies

Population Health Driver Diagram

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

Contact us at P4IPH@doh.wa.gov

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