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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Local Survey Shows Diabetes Risk Climbs with Age
Friday. February 1, 2002

PHILADELPHIA, PA, February 2002 — Data from a widespread survey of the region’s health reveal an increasing prevalence of diabetes among adults in the region. In Southeastern Pennsylvania, the percentage of adults with diabetes has increased from 4% in 1991 to 7% in 2000, representing 193,000 adults in the region who currently have diabetes.

The survey, conducted in 2000 by the nonprofit Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), further shows that diabetes prevalence greatly increases with age. Among younger adults (ages 18 to 64), 5% have diabetes. The percentage is three times greater among adults 65 and older (15%).

The prevalence of diabetes also varies considerably by race and ethnicity.  African American adults (10.9%) are nearly twice as likely as whites (6.0%) and three times as likely as Asians (3.6%) to have diabetes. Diabetes prevalence is also slightly higher among Latinos than among non-Latinos (9.0% and 6.8%, respectively).
Many of the risk factors for diabetes are the same as those for heart disease. Specifically, more than 80% of the region’s diabetics are overweight or obese and an estimated three out of five diabetics (58.7%) do not participate in regular exercise. On the other hand, diabetic adults do manage their condition in other ways, including taking prescription medications prescribed by their doctors (80.8%) and changing their eating habits (15.7%). Both of these actions are a positive indication of patient participation in disease management.

These selected findings are from PHMC’s 2000 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, a major telephone survey of more than 10,000 households in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia. PHMC will conduct its next Household Health Survey in 2002. More information about the survey is available online at

PHMC is a nonprofit, public health organization committed to improving the health of the community through outreach, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. PHMC is a United Way member agency.