Researchers at the German Diabetes Center (DDZ), a partner institute of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD, recently investigated the incidence of new cases of type 2 diabetes in Germany between 2014 and 2019 using the data of around 63 million people with statutory health insurance.
Significant Decrease in Older People
Approx. 450,000 new cases were recorded each year. According to the study, the incidence rate decreased across all age groups – by 2.4% for women and 1.7% for men. The decrease was especially pronounced among older people. A cause for concern is the increase in new cases in the 20-to-39-year-old age group; annually, these rose by 2.9% for men and 2.4% for women. “Type 2 diabetes is no longer only a disease affecting the old,” explains lead author Dr. Thaddäus Tönnies from the Institute for Biometrics and Epidemiology at the DDZ. Across Germany, the incidence of new cases fell by approx. 2% annually. Compared to the nationwide incidence rate in 2014, the researchers observed a decrease in the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes in most districts, by an average of 2.2% annually. However, 14 districts showed an upward trend. There were also regional differences: The astern German states and Saarland tended to be above the national average, while in contrast the north-western and southern German regions tended to be below the 2014 rate.
A Positive Trend but not a Turnaround
“Although this study indicates a slight reduction in new cases for the first time, further close monitoring is needed to determine whether this trend will continue,” stresses Professor Michael Roden, Professor and Chairman of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and scientific director and executive board member of the DDZ. The dynamic of the situation could rapidly shift in the opposite direction. Professor Roden also stresses that it is essential to promote preventative measures, targeted exercise courses, healthy dietary habits, and health education to help turn this initial trend into a long-term change in direction for Germany.
Fig.: Spatial-temporal trends for the age- and gender-adjusted type 2 diabetes incidence rate ratio (“standardized incidence ratio”, SIR) in Germany between 2014 and 2019. Source: Deutsches Ärzteblatt
Tönnies T, Hoyer A, Brinks R, Kuss O, Hering R, Schulz M: Spatio-temporal trends in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Germany – analysis of the claims data of 63 million persons with statutory health insurance from 2014 to 2019. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2023; 120: 173-9. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.m2022.0405