Deep red shows counties where at least 11.2 percent of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes.) Image: CDC/National Diabetes Surveillance System
Keep an eye out for the April edition of the American Journal of Medicine . In it, the Los Angeles Times and U.S. News Health Blog report that you will find a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which identifies the “diabetes belt.” Almost 26 million Americans - that’s 8% of the population - have type-2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes (as opposed to type-1) often connected with weight and physical activity. In a county-by-county census, the CDC identifies 644 counties in 15 states where the type-2 diabetes rates are higher (11%) than the national average (8.5%). Ethnicity, age, weight, and a sedentary lifestyle were found to be key factors .
The Los Angeles Times describes the “belt” as stretching “down the southeastern seaboard, ’round the silty Mississippi Delta and following the Appalachian Mountains north across Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia” and including parts of Pennsylvania (but stopping short of New Jersey). Dr. Lawrence Phillips, who studies diabetes at Emory University, told Reuters that
[s]ince diabetes is one of what we call the silent killer diseases … it’s important for the public to be aware that this is a problem…. What this does is to give health care providers ammunition. A provider can say, ‘We’re in the diabetes belt. All of these things are increased in part because of the way we live, and all of these things can be improved to a certain extent. Our risks can be decreased … by eating healthier and to the extent that we can, being less sedentary.’”