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Obesity Epidemic Drives Dramatic Rise in Diabetes

More and more Americans are becoming obese. A wider waist increases their risk for heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. A new government report found this obesity epidemic is also tied to another troubling health trend. It's spurring a spike in type 2 diabetes.

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Report raises concerns

Researchers from the CDC looked at 15 years' worth of data from a survey given annually to U.S. adults. They found that the prevalence of diabetes has increased alarmingly across the country. In 42 states, researchers reported a 50 percent surge in the diabetes rate. In 18 of those states, the rate of diabetes has increased by 100 percent.

"We know diabetes has been increasing for decades, but to see 18 states with such an increase was shocking," says lead researcher Linda Geiss, a statistician in the CDC's division of diabetes translation. "The diabetes epidemic has gone hand-in-hand with the increase in obesity."

Nearly 36 percent of Americans are currently obese.

South faces biggest burden

The South has seen the greatest rise in diabetes. The states with the biggest jump include Oklahoma, Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama. Not by coincidence, the South also has the highest obesity rates. What's more, the report found that more people living in all parts of the nation are dealing with the disease.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition. But it's also preventable. It can cause health problems such as vision loss, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. If this rise in type 2 diabetes continues, more than 100 million people will have it by 2050. But simple lifestyle changes can help many Americans stay free of the disease. These include exercising more, eating a well-balanced diet-and most important-maintaining a healthy weight.

The report was published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

Online Resources

(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)

American Diabetes Association - Prevention

CDC - Diabetes Public Health Resource

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases - Diabetes

January 2013

Take Action to Prevent Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that can wreak havoc on your heart and circulatory system. It typically develops slowly. But experts now know that people with type 2 diabetes usually have another condition first: prediabetes. And preventing this disease is critical to helping stop type 2 diabetes from ever developing.

Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal-but not quite as high as with type 2 diabetes. It usually doesn't cause any symptoms. But major risk factors for prediabetes include being 45 or older and having excess weight. You can protect yourself from prediabetes by maintaining these lifestyle habits:

  • Keep saturated fat intake below 10 percent of your daily calories. This fat typically is found in red meat and dairy products.

  • Eat 15 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed each day. Good sources include vegetables, legumes, beans, and whole-grain foods, such as popcorn.

  • Quit smoking, if you smoke.

  • Drink alcohol in moderation. That means no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two for men.

  • Get 30 minutes of regular exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week.

People at high risk for prediabetes should also get their blood sugar screened regularly. This can be done with a simple blood test during a doctor's visit.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

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