The study reviewed health information from more than 600,000 adults between 1985 and 2011 and found the lifetime risk of developing diabetes had increased by 21 percentage points for men and by 13 percentage points for women since 1985.
The risks were greater among certain ethnic minorities. Hispanic men and women as well as black women had more than a 50% likelihood of developing diabetes over the course of their lives, the study found.
Though the prevalence of diabetes has increased, the study found that those diagnosed with diabetes at age 40 were living an average of as much as three years longer. The number of life years lost to the disease had decreased from 7.7 years in 1990 to 5.8 in 2011 in men and from 8.7 years to 6.8 years in women during the same period.
Collectively however, the average number of life years lost due to diabetes increased by 46% in the male population and by 44% for women between 1990 and 2011, primarily because of the increased prevalence of the disease. The number of years spent living with diabetes increased by 156% in men and 70% in women, according to the study.
The study did not specify what type of diabetes had increased in prevalence, but it is understood that at least 90% of the more than 29 million Americans living with the disease have Type 2, primarily because of the increase in the number of people who are overweight or obese.