November 15, 2012

Diabetes rates rocket in South; Maine's more than doubles

The Associated Press

NEW YORK — The nation's diabetes problem is getting worse, and the biggest jump over 15 years was in Oklahoma, according to a new federal report issued Thursday.

State

Change: 1995–2010

Oklahoma 226.7%
Kentucky 158.3%
Georgia 145%
Alabama 140.4%
Washington 135.5%
West Virginia 131.1%
Ohio 121.4%
South Dakota 121.4%
Montana 117.2%
Maine 117.1%
Hawaii 117.1%
Idaho 113.9%
Missouri 107.1%
Minnesota 106.5%
Wyoming 106.1%
Maryland 102.3%
South Carolina 100%
Tennessee 100%
Virginia 97.6%
North Carolina 95.8%
North Dakota 91.7%
New York 90.9%
New Jersey 88.9%
Mississippi 85.7%
Indiana 82.4%
Massachusetts 79.5%
Delaware 79.5%
Florida 79.2%
Arkansas 78%
Texas 75.4%
Utah 73.8%
Michigan 71.4%
Kansas 68.1%
Nevada 68%
Pennsylvania 67.3%
Oregon 65%
Colorado 64.9%
Nebraska 63.6%
Rhode Island 58.7%
Illinois 57.4%
Arizona 56.3%
Connecticut 55.8%
Louisiana 46.3%
Wisconsin 43.5%
New Hampshire 43.1%
Alaska 42.9%
New Mexico 40.4%
California 38.7%
Iowa 36%
District of Columbia 31.1%
Vermont 27.1%

The diabetes rate in Oklahoma more than tripled, and Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama also saw dramatic increases since 1995, the study showed.

The South's growing weight problem is the main explanation, said Linda Geiss, lead author of the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

"The rise in diabetes has really gone hand in hand with the rise in obesity," she said.

Bolstering the numbers is the fact that more people with diabetes are living longer because better treatments are available.

The disease exploded in the United States in the last 50 years, with the vast majority from obesity-related Type 2 diabetes. In 1958, fewer than 1 in 100 Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes. In 2010, it was about 1 in 14.

Most of the increase has happened since 1990.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body has trouble processing sugar; it's the nation's seventh leading cause of death. Complications include poor circulation, heart and kidney problems and nerve damage.

The new study is the CDC's first in more than a decade to look at how the nationwide boom has played out in different states.

It's based on telephone surveys of at least 1,000 adults in each state in 1995 and 2010. Participants were asked if a doctor had ever told them they have diabetes.

Not surprisingly, Mississippi — the state with the largest proportion of residents who are obese — has the highest diabetes rate. Nearly 12 percent of Mississippians say they have diabetes, compared to the national average of 7 percent.

But the most dramatic increases in diabetes occurred largely elsewhere in the South and in the Southwest, where rates tripled or more than doubled. Oklahoma's rate rose to about 10 percent, Kentucky went to more than 9 percent, Georgia to 10 percent and Alabama surpassed 11 percent.

An official with Oklahoma State Department of Health said the solution is healthier eating, more exercise and no smoking.

"And that's it in a nutshell," said Rita Reeves, diabetes prevention coordinator.

Several Northern states saw rates more than double, too, including Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Maine.

The study was published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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