(BOSTON) -- The number of diabetes cases around the world has more than doubled since 1980, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health.
The study looked at worldwide diabetes rates based on surveys and epidemiological studies from almost 200 countries and territories, and found that the number of adults with diabetes has increased from 153 million in 1980 to 347 million in 2008.
Researchers say the large majority of the increase may be due to aging of the population, and they estimate that 30 percent of the rise is linked to other risk factors such as the increase in obesity.
According to the findings of the study, which were published in The Lancet, the United States had more than twice the rate of increase in blood sugar levels than Western Europe over the 30 year period. In wealthy nations, the US, Greenland, Malta, New Zealand and Spain had the highest levels of diabetes and blood sugar levels, while the Netherlands, Austria and France had the lowest.
Diabetes cases have increased the most in Pacific Island nations and is also quite high in Saudi Arabia, according to the study, while the lowest blood sugar levels were found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio