A comprehensive survey in China has found that 114 million adults in the country have diabetes.
The figures mean that more than 1 in every 9 adults in China have diabetes and that one in every 3 people with diabetes in the world is Chinese. The researchers finding that the number of people with pre-diabetic blood glucose levels is around 50% of adults.
In terms of diabetes rates in other parts of the world, the Chinese now have a higher prevalence of diabetes (11.6%) than the US (11.3%). For comparison, the rate of diabetes in the UK is around 4.5%.
A key difference between diabetes in China and in western countries is that diabetes is developing in Chinese people at lower BMI levels. In the US, the average BMI figure for people with diabetes is 28.7 whereas in China the average BMI is a full 5 points lower at 23.7.
Another striking finding is that diabetes is developing within younger age groups. 40% of Chinese adults between 18 and 29 have pre-diabetes and this figure increases to 47% amongst those in their thirties.
The researchers believe diet is behind the rise in diabetes in China stating: “Poor nutrition in utero and early life combined with over-nutrition in later life may contribute to the accelerated epidemic of diabetes in China.”

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