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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Michigan Study Takes Nationwide Look at Diabetes in Mexico; Paints Grim Picture

If diabetes in Mexico continues unchecked, at least one in three people, and as many as one in two, could be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetimes.

[Photo: Dr. Rafael Meza]

In the first comprehensive effort to document incidence of the disease in Mexico, research led by Dr. Rafael Meza, assistant professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health, found that from 1960 to 2012 diabetes incidence in the country doubled every 10 years. The researchers predict that up to 23 percent of the country’s population could have the disease by 2050.

“The work highlights the magnitude of the problem and how much bigger it could get if nothing is done,” Dr. Meza said. “Diabetes rates have been increasing dramatically largely due to the obesity epidemic in Mexico. Comprehensive diabetes/obesity prevention strategies are thus critical to reverse the trends.”

The study could also help those combating the diabetes in the U.S., he added.

“Hispanics have very high incidence rate, and a large percentage of them are from Mexican descent,” Meza said. “We know people from Mexico have high susceptibility rates, so some of those things that we’re learning could be eventually be applied to understanding what’s happening with diabetes among the Hispanic population in the U.S.”

The research is reported in the current issue of Preventive Medicine.

Using data from the Mexico National Health and Nutrition Survey, Dr. Meza and colleagues from the Mexico National Institute of Public Health projected how the disease will progress from 2015 to 2050.

“The large projected numbers of diabetes cases are in fact largely driven by the expected aging of the population that will occur in the next 30 years,” Meza said. “So countries like Mexico need to prepare for this increasing burden of disease.”

For more information about the study, including a video interview with Dr. Meza, click here.