Almost 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and if the current trends continue, one in three American adults will suffer from the condition by 2050, according to the American Diabetes Association.
A new chart shows that, between 2004 and 2012, the prevalence of diabetes increased in almost every U.S. county nationwide except for 15 localities where the rate either went down or stayed the same.
Diabetes is a genetically determined disease. Long-term complications can include heart disease, and nerve, kidney, eye and foot damage.
“The fact that we’re more sedentary and the fact that our calorie consumption has been increasing steadily over the last few decades, which is the more important factor of the two, are major triggers for the onset of type 2 diabetes,” said Matt Petersen of the American Diabetes Association. “You start with the genetics and then these other factors can trigger the onset of diabetes.”
Two-thirds of the American population is now considered to be overweight or obese.
The 10 counties that experienced a drop in diabetes are:
McCracken County, Kentucky
Arlington County, Virginia
Hawaii County, Hawaii
Beckham County, Oklahoma
San Francisco County, California
Roosevelt County, Montana
Cuming County, Nebraska
Mellette County, South Dakota
Preston County, West Virginia
Logan County, Nebraska
All in all, Colorado seems to be doing the best job when it comes to warding off diabetes. In many localities, 4 percent or less of the population has been diagnosed with the disease.
“It’s a leaner state than most and it has a lower rate of diabetes and the equation might be that simple,” Petersen said.
Petersen says there’s another key factor driving the increasing prevalence of diabetes.
“We believe the main reason it continues to go up is because we are taking better care of it and people are living longer. We’d very much like to then move to diabetes prevention,” he said. “Age, weight, physical activity, those are the risk factors that we know about. Age we can’t do much about so we focus on physical activity and weight control as the primary ways to both prevent and delay diabetes or if you have it, to manage it.”