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Health & Medical

Diabetes rates rise dramatically across the nation, CDC reports

Diabetes prevalence rates jumped dramatically across the nation between 1995 and 2010, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported in Friday’s edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual phone survey of adults 18 and older, the investigators found that overall, the median prevalence of diagnosed diabetes went up from 4.5 percent in 1995 to 8.2 percent in 2010.

Prevalence increased in all states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, with the median up from 4.5 percent to 8.2 percent. Diabetes rates were highest in the South and in Appalachia, where Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia all had 2010 rates above 10 percent. Rates also exceeded 10 percent in Puerto Rico.

The states with the lowest prevalence of diabetes, between 6.0 percent and 6.9 percent, were Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Vermont and Wyoming. In California, 8.6 percent of the people had the disease – a 38 percent increase over 1995.

All told, rates increased 50 percent or more in 42 states, and 100 percent or more in 18 states. The largest increases were in Oklahoma (up 226 percent,) Kentucky (158 percent,) Georgia (145 percent,) Alabama (140 percent,) and Washington (135 percent.)

CDC representatives said the new numbers were a mere taste of what’s to come unless public health agencies figure out how to combat type 2 diabetes, which was diagnosed in an estimated 18.8 million people in 2010.

“These rates will continue to increase until effective interventions and policies are implemented to prevent both diabetes and obesity,” said Ann Albright, the director of the health agency’s Division of Diabetes Translation, in a statement.

The new prevalence statistics did not include women with gestational diabetes or people with diagnoses of borderline diabetes or “prediabetes.”

Also this week, the CDC launched Diabetes Interactive Atlases, a new tool to help Americans track diabetes incidence in different parts of the country and within states, as well as information on obesity and physical activity.

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