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More than 1 in 10 Delaware Adults
Report Having Diabetes in 2016

In 2016, 10.6 percentof Delaware residents age 18 and older reported they had been diagnosed with diabetes.

That means more than 79,600 Delaware adults know they have diabetes, according to the Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS).  This prevalence rate does not include gestational diabetes. Although the BRFS question does not distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse estimates that between 90 and 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2.

Trend in Adult Diabetes Prevalence in Delaware

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
9.7% 9.6% 11.1% 11.1% 11.5% 10.6%

Source: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), 2011-2016.

There is no statistically significant difference in the adult diabetes prevalence during the past six years.

In 2016, diabetes was more prevalent among African-American adults (13.0 percent) than among non-Hispanic white adults (10.5 percent). About 7.5 percent of Hispanic adults report having been diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes also becomes more prevalent with age. Only 4.2 percent of 35-44 year olds have diabetes, but the prevalence rises to 10 percent among adults age 45-54; 17.1 percent among adults age 55-64; and 22.5 percent among those 65 and older. There is no statistically significant difference between men (11.1 percent) and women (10.2 percent) in the 2016 survey results.


The survey asks about "pre-diabetes," or borderline diabetes. In 2016, among adults who do not have diagnosed diabetes, 13.1 percent—or more than 84,600 Delawareans—reported being told they have pre-diabetes.

People with pre-diabetes are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but they can significantly reduce that risk by increasing physical activity and eating a healthier diet.

Compliance With Recommendations

The 2016 Delaware BRFS also provides information about compliance with recommendations for people with diabetes.

  • 57.5 percent say they check their blood glucose (sugar) levels one or more times per day. [The recommended frequency is three times a day for most diabetic adults.]
  • 33.2 percent see their doctor 4 or more times a year.  An additional 35 percent say they see their doctor 2 or 3 times a year.
  • 92.3 percent say they have been checked by a doctor for Hemoglobin A1-C one or more times in the past year.
  • 75.7 percent of people with diabetes had an eye exam in which their pupils were dilated during the past year.
  • 17.6 percent of people with diabetes said they have been told by a doctor that diabetes has affected their eyes, or they have retinopathy.
  • 77.7 percent said a health professional had checked their feet for sores or irritations one or more times in the past year.
  • Nearly half (47.2 percent) of all adults diagnosed with diabetes say they have taken a course or class in how to manage diabetes.

photoof feet on a scale

Weight and Diabetes

Overweight and obesity are major contributing factors for developing diabetes. In Delaware, 20.8 percent of adults who report being obese have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 3 percent of adults who report normal weights. About 90.6 percent of adults with diagnosed diabetes are either overweight or obese.

Obesity among Delaware adults more than doubled from 13 percent in 1992 to 30.7 percent in 2016. The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among Delaware adults also doubled from 4.9 percent in 1991 to 10.6 percent in 2016. However, prevalence of both obesity and diabetes has been fairly level for the past several years.

Demographic factors for diabetes closely parallel the factors related to overweight and obesity. Obesity is significantly higher among African-Americans. Adults with lower educational levels and low income are more likely to be obese, and more likely to have diabetes. Diabetes prevalence is higher in Kent and Sussex counties, where obesity prevalence also is higher than in New Castle County (see chart below).

2016 Diabetes Prevalence by County

State New Castle Kent Sussex
10.6%   9.4% 11.3% 13.1%


2016 Obesity Prevalence by County

State New Castle Kent Sussex
30.7% 28.7% 33.3% 33.3%

Source: Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), 2016.

Disabilities and Diabetes

About 23.2 percent of Delaware's adult population report having activities limited by a physical, mental or emotion problem, or having a health problem that requires them to use special equipment (such as a cane, wheelchair, a special bed, or a special telephone). However, among people diagnosed with diabetes, 42.9 percent report having a disability. About 20.8 percent of all adults with a disability say they have been diagnosed with diabetes.



Return to the main Diabetes Program page. | Return to the main BRFS page.