Sat, Nov 01, 2008 - Page 7 News List

US rate of diabetes doubles in 10 years, South is worst hit

AP , ATLANTA

The rate of new diabetes cases nearly doubled in the US in the last 10 years, with the highest levels in the South, the government said on Thursday in its first state-by-state review of new diagnoses.

The highest rate was in West Virginia, where about 13 in 1,000 adults were diagnosed with the disease. The lowest was in Minnesota, where the rate was five in 1,000.

About 90 percent of the cases were type 2 diabetes, the form linked to obesity.

The findings echo geographic trends seen with obesity and physical inactivity, which were also tied to heart disease. Southern states ranked worst in those measures, too.

“It isn’t surprising the problem is heaviest in the South — no pun intended,” said Matt Petersen, who oversaw data and statistics for the American Diabetes Association.

But the study provided important new information on where new cases were emerging each year, giving a more timely picture of where the disease was exploding. The information should be a big help as the government and health insurers decide where to focus prevention campaigns, he said.

The study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covered most states.

More than 23 million Americans have diabetes and the number has been growing quickly. About 1.6 million new cases were diagnosed in people 20 or older last year, the study reported.

The study involved a random-digit-dialed survey of more than 260,000 adults. Participants were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor that they had diabetes, and when the diagnosis was made.

The annual rate of new diabetes cases rose from about five per 1,000 in the mid-1990s to nine per 1,000 in the mid-2000s, according to data gathered for 33 states for which the centers had complete data for both time periods.

It’s not completely clear why some states had a worse incidence than others. Older people, blacks and Hispanics tended to have higher rates of type 2, and the south has large concentrations of older people and blacks.

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