The connection between obesity and type 2 diabetes is well known, leading health professionals to believe a rise in incidence of the former would positively correlate with the number of diabetes diagnoses. However, despite climbing obesity rates, the number of new cases of diabetes in U.S. adults continues to decline – a paradox confusing health officials. According to new federal data released in May of this year, 1.3 million new diabetes diagnoses were made in 2017, compared to 1.7 million in 2009.
As rates of obesity have steadily climbed over the past 40 years, more adolescents and young adults are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than ever before. Between 2002 and 2012 alone, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in youth grew by nearly 5%. As early onset has been directly linked to poorer outcomes, young adults diagnosed with diabetes face higher risks for long-term complications.