We’re not just getting fatter, Kentucky, we’re becoming chronically ill because of it. The rate of diagnosed diabetes in Kentucky has increased dramatically in the past 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Kentucky, 9.3 percent of adults reported having been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2010, up from just 3.6 percent in 1995, according to response to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing national telephone survey. (Data from 2011 were not compared because the survey methodology changed.)
The figure is undoubtedly less than the actual percentage of Kentuckians with diabetes; nationally, 18 million people say they have been told they have the disorder, and another 7 million are estimated to have it but not be diagnosed. In 1958, the national rate of diagnosed diabetes was 1 percent; now it’s 8.2 percent. Not surprisingly, Mississippi, the state with the largest proportion of residents who are obese, has the highest diabetes rate, at nearly 12 percent.
The biggest jump in diagnosed diabetes from 1995 to 2010 was in Oklahoma, where it more than tripled. The South, as a region, had the most frightening numbers, almost one in 10 adults. That was more than double the rate in 1995. Several Northern states saw rates more than double, too, including Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Maine.
“The rise in diabetes has really gone hand in hand with the rise in obesity,” CDC report lead author Linda Geiss told The Associated Press. Diabetes is a disease in which the body has trouble processing sugar. Even with medications to help control it, it can cause damage to the kidneys, circulation and nervous system. It is the nation’s seventh leading cause of death.
Click here to read the CDC report.
Kentucky Health News is a service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.