Around two in five Americans or about 40 percent of the population will develop diabetes type-2 during their lifetime, a new study suggests.

The risk is higher for people belonging to certain ethnic communities with half of Blacks and Hispanics having high risk of developing the disease at some point in their lives.

The study was conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology

"The largest increases were in Hispanic men and women, and non-Hispanic black women, for whom lifetime risk now exceeds 50 percent," according to the authors, AFP reported.

Diabetes is when blood glucose or sugar levels are too high. Diabetes type-2 is the most common form of the condition and it occurs when people are unable to use the hormone insulin to control blood sugar levels.

Obesity is the leading risk factor for diabetes in the U.S. as well as several other countries.

The present study was based on data from 600,000 adults between 1985 and 2011. The researchers found that the lifetime risk of developing type-2 diabetes increased from 20 percent for men and 27 percent for women in 1985-1989 to 40 percent for men and 39 percent for women in 2000-2011, according to AFP.

"We weren't necessarily surprised that it increased, but we didn't expect it to increase this much," Edward Gregg, chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the division of diabetes translation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to HealthDay. "Forty percent is a humbling number."

There was some good news in the study. The researchers found that people with type-2 diabetes are living longer than in the past, according to HealthDay. Gregg said that better medication, medical support and treatment are helping people cope with complications related with diabetes.