Black children face a 50 percent likelihood of developing diabetes during their lifetime.
This staggering figure is according to a study published Wednesday in The Lancet, Mother Jones reports. Compare that with only a 40 percent chance for American children overall.
The epidemiologists who conducted the study based their findings on mortality data for nearly 600,000 Americans between 1985 and 2011 in order to determine the odds of Americans developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, according to Mother Jones.
They found that race and socioeconomic status are major risk factors in the development of diabetes.
“Socioeconomic status is probably as important as race, if not more important,” said Edward Gregg, the lead author of the study, reports Mother Jones.
From 1985 to 2011, the researchers found a marked increase in diabetes risk overall. In 1985 the threat stayed in the 21 percent and 27 percent range for boys and girls, respectively, but by 2011 it jumped to 40 percent for both sexes. This spike might be because Americans are living longer, hence there’s a greater expanse of years when they could develop the disease, notes Mother Jones.
The study’s analysis didn’t look into how risk levels may change between Type 1 and Type 2.
However, Gregg said that to lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the answer may lie in “having more healthy food options, having more information about what we eat and what sorts of foods we eat are healthy,” and “having more options to be physically active,” according to Mother Jones.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks the frequency of new diabetes cases, found that there’s a link between the rates and educational attainment and environment, according to Mother Jones.
The Lancet study is the first in more than a decade that analyzed the risk Americans face over the course of their lifetimes, reports Mother Jones.
On a brighter note, the study’s researchers found that diabetes is no longer the death sentence it once was. Children diagnosed with the disease can expect to live beyond 70 years old.
Read more at Mother Jones.