Diabetes & Obesity Continue to Rise

The overall diabetes rate in the U.S. continues to grow—up from 10.8 percent in 2008-2009 to 11.5 percent in 2016-2017, according to a report from the Gallup-Sharecare State of American Well-Being Index examining its prevalence in 186 communities across all 50 states over the last decade. That equates to about 1.7 million more Americans with diabetes than would have been the case had the rate remained flat. Perhaps more alarming: obesity—a key risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes—has climbed by 2.3 points since 2008-2009, reaching 28.3 percent nationally in 2016-2017. 

The data provides a unique lens through which to view the prevalence of diabetes in communities across the nation. Lower rates could point to citizens of a particular region practicing healthier behaviors which, in turn, could lead to better health outcomes and lower prevalence of chronic conditions. 

Among the 50 states, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah and Vermont have the lowest prevalence of diabetes, at less than nine percent of their adult populations. At the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia has the highest rate of diabetes, with 17.9 percent of its residents diagnosed in 2016-2017—roughly double the rate of the lowest-prevalence states. Seven other states reported diabetes diagnoses of at least 14 percent—South Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Tennessee. 

Illinois ranked 18th on the index, with only a 0.5-percent increase from 2008-2009 (10%) to 2016-2017 (10.5%). Meanwhile, the obesity rate in Illinois increased by 1.4 percent from 26.4 to 27.7 percent. 

In the report’s community rankings, Peoria was 39th in the nation with a diabetes rate of 9.4 percent in 2016-2017—slightly lower than the state and national average. However, an obesity rate of 34.4 percent places Peoria in the highest category for obesity prevalence in Illinois. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently presented a $4.6 million grant to the Illinois Public Health Institute to address the state’s obesity problem. Locally in the Tri-County Area, the grant money will be used to improve healthy food options at businesses, schools and daycare centers, among other programs. 

The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index is an ongoing measurement of American well-being. Visit wellbeingindex.sharecare.com to download the full report.

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