CONTEXT: Although diabetes mellitus is one of the most prevalent and costly chronic diseases in the United States, no estimates have been published of individuals' average lifetime risk of developing diabetes. OBJECTIVE: To estimate age-, sex-, and race/ethnicity-specific lifetime risk of diabetes in the cohort born in 2000 in the United States. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Data from the National Health Interview Survey (1984-2000) were used to estimate age-, sex-, and race/ethnicity-specific prevalence and incidence in 2000. US Census Bureau data and data from a previous study of diabetes as a cause of death were used to estimate age-, sex-, and race/ethnicity-specific mortality rates for diabetic and nondiabetic populations. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Residual (remaining) lifetime risk of diabetes (from birth to 80 years in 1-year intervals), duration with diabetes, and life-years and quality-adjusted life-years lost from diabetes. RESULTS: The estimated lifetime risk of developing diabetes for individuals born in 2000 is 32.8% for males and 38.5% for females. Females have higher residual lifetime risks at all ages. The highest estimated lifetime risk for diabetes is among Hispanics (males, 45.4% and females, 52.5%). Individuals diagnosed as having diabetes have large reductions in life expectancy. For example, we estimate that if an individual is diagnosed at age 40 years, men will lose 11.6 life-years and 18.6 quality-adjusted life-years and women will lose 14.3 life-years and 22.0 quality-adjusted life-years. CONCLUSIONS: For individuals born in the United States in 2000, the lifetime probability of being diagnosed with diabetes mellitus is substantial. Primary prevention of diabetes and its complications are important public health priorities.
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