US sees dramatic rise in diabetes rates: study

WASHINGTON - The United States saw a dramatic rise in the number of adults suffering from diabetes between 1995 and 2010, according to official statistics released Thursday.

The prevalence of the disease increased by at least 50 per cent in 42 of the country's 50 states. In 18 of those, the rate at least doubled, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Regionally, we saw the largest increase in diagnosed diabetes prevalence in the South, followed by the West, Midwest, and Northeast," said Linda Geiss, lead author of the report.

The states that saw the highest rise in cases included Oklahoma (226 per cent), Kentucky (158 per cent), Georgia (145 per cent), Alabama (140 per cent) and Washington (135 per cent).

In 1995, only three states along with the District of Columbia - home of the nation's capital, Washington - and Puerto Rico had a diagnosed diabetes prevalence of at least six per cent.

But by 2010, all 50 US states recorded a prevalence of more than six per cent, said Ann Albright, who heads the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.

"These rates will continue to increase until effective interventions and policies are implemented to prevent both diabetes and obesity," she said in a statement. More than a third of American adults are obese.

Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95 per cent of all diabetes cases in the United States, could be prevented by making lifestyle changes, the statement said.

The CDC, together with its partners, is working on initiatives to prevent type 2 diabetes and minimize complications in those already diagnosed with the disease.

The study used data from an annual telephone survey of health behaviours and conditions of US adults aged 18 and older.

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