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Positive HbA1c tests for diabetes may soon become much more common, as new research indicates that the obesity rate in the U.S. could increase dramatically by 2030.
Over the next 20 years, researchers from Cornell University and Oxford University predict that 65 million people will become obese, in addition to the individuals who are currently overweight. Since obesity is considered the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes, new cases of the metabolic condition could increase by 7.8 million.
The researchers suggested that public policy initiatives need to be enacted in order to stem the growing tide of obesity in the U.S.
"Taking no action would have the catastrophic consequences described in our study, but a population level decrease in BMI by 1 percent would avoid as many as 2.4 million cases of diabetes, 1.7 million cases of heart disease and stroke and up to 127,000 cases of cancer in the U.S. alone," said Claire Wang, who led the study.
Medical costs for a person with diabetes are about 2.4 times greater than for healthy people, according to the American Diabetes Association.
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