THURSDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A stunning new federal report reveals just how bad the obesity-linked type 2 diabetes epidemic in the United States has become, with rates of the often-preventable disease hitting record highs.
Some of the statistics are staggering: While in 1995 only three states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had diabetes prevalence rates of 6 percent or more, by 2010 diabetes rates in all 50 states had reached that level.
Some states -- especially in the South -- have fared much worse than others, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report said. Eighteen states saw their rates of diabetes cases double during the 15-year period covered by the study, and in 42 states the rate jumped by 50 percent.
In six states and Puerto Rico, one in 10 adults now have diabetes.
"I was shocked myself," said lead researcher Linda Geiss, a statistician in CDC's division of diabetes translation. "We know diabetes has been increasing for decades, but to see 18 states having an increase of 100 percent was shocking."
The main cause of the increase is clear: Americans' widening waistlines. "The diabetic epidemic has gone hand-in- hand with the increases in obesity," Geiss said.
The tragedy is that diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes, she added.
Dr. Stuart Weinerman, from the division of endocrinology at North Shore University Hospital/Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., said that "diabetes is becoming the major public health burden."
"This is an unnecessary epidemic due to obesity," he added. "From a public health perspective, we better be prepared if we allow people to continue to be obese, to spend huge amounts of money on taking care of patients."
The report was published in the Nov. 16 issue of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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