Diabetes prevalence has increased in recent years. In 2010, 25.8 million Americans had the condition, and this rose to 29.1 million by 2012.
However, the research team - led by Dr. Edward Gregg, chief of the Epidemiology and Statistics Branch, Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - notes that the mortality rate in US populations with and without diabetes has declined.
"The simultaneous changes in incidence and mortality warrant re-examination of lifetime risk of diabetes and life-years lost due to diabetes" say the researchers.
Hispanic men and women, and non-Hispanic black women saw the highest increase; they now have a 50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.
The researchers found that the years of life lost to diabetes reduced during the 26-year study period. The number of life-years lost for men diagnosed with diabetes at age 40 declined from 7.7 years in 1990-99 to 5.8 years in 2000-11, while the number of life-years lost for women reduced from 8.7 years to 6.8 years.