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Appalachia, Southeast Hit Hardest by Obesity and Diabetes
Date:11/19/2009

" he said. Obesity is also linked to heart disease, stroke and some cancers.

The new CDC report coincides with data released Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that finds that two out of three people with diabetes forego either some or all of the most important examinations they need to stay healthy.

Using 2007 data, the agency found that only one-third of adult diabetics had had a health professional check their blood sugar levels that year, had undergone an eye exam, or had their feet examined for poor circulation. Only 58 percent had even two of these three crucial exams, the AHRQ found, 3 percent had had none of the tests, and 6 percent couldn't tell researchers if they had had the tests of not.

Insurance status played a big role, with insured individuals being twice as likely to say they had had all three tests versus the uninsured.

Americans' expanding waistlines are taking a financial toll, too. The medical costs of obesity in the United States reached $147 billion in 2008, the CDC estimates, and people diagnosed with diabetes have medical costs that are more than double those of people without the disease. The CDC estimates that 8 percent of U.S. adults have diabetes, and another 5.7 million have it but don't know it.

The new county-by-county information is a useful tool, Gregg said. "If people see the information that is closest to them, if we make it local to the person with the condition, the doctor, the legislator, that is better than seeing it at an abstract level," he said.

"Awareness of the size and scope of the problem is important for local policy makers to identify the necessary community and clinical services to prevent and control the conditions," the MMWR report said. "For example, lifestyle programs for diabetes prevention and community support groups for diabetes self-management have been shown effective when they are linked to a referring clin
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