CDC: "Diabetes belt" stretches across southeastern U.S.

Apr 18, 2011

People in southeastern states have the highest rates of diabetes in the U.S., according to a study.

People living in the South have a considerably higher chance of developing diabetes, according to new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that dubbed the region as the "diabetes belt."

Published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, the study found diabetes rates sometimes surpassed 11 percent in 644 counties that stretch across 15 southern states, compared to 8.5 percent in the rest of the country. Residents there were more likely to be obese and have sedentary lifestyle, both risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

About 26 million American adults suffer from diabetes. However, the CDC found that as much as 95 percent of all cases may be caused by type 2, also known as adult onset diabetes. Type 1 is believed to be an autoimmune disease and is not affected by weight or physical activity.

While diabetes can usually be managed, the Mayo Clinic reports that type 2 diabetes can lead to multiple long-term complications. The ailment may lead to higher life insurance premiums, as over time it may cause heart disease as well as nerve and kidney damage.

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