The number of Georgians with diabetes continues to rise, jumping 145 percent from 1995 to 2010, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.
In Georgia, 9.8 percent of residents said they had diabetes in 2010, compared with 4.0 percent in 1995, said Linda Geiss, lead author of the study, released Thursday.
Only Oklahoma and Kentucky saw a bigger jump in the number of cases during that 15-year period, according to the study.
Geiss said Southern states overall have the highest rates of diabetes in the nation because of residents’ sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits.
Diabetes is a chronic disease resulting from the body’s inability to process sugar. It is the nation’s seventh-leading cause of death, according to the CDC. It’s also a leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower-limb amputations, new cases of blindness, heart disease and stroke, according to the CDC.
The new study is based on telephone surveys of at least 1,000 adults in each state in 1995 and 2010.
Mississippi had the highest obesity rate and the highest diabetes rate, the CDC reported. Nearly 12 percent of Mississippians say they have diabetes, compared with the national average of 7 percent.
“Unfortunately, people are still eating too much and exercising too little,” said Michael Gault, executive director of the American Diabetes Association for the Atlanta region. His organization offers numerous programs to raise awareness of the disease and to help people who have contracted diabetes.
The association’s Tour de Cure bike ride attracted Scott Dube, who has Type 2 diabetes, which may be prevented through lifestyle changes and accounts for 90 percent to 95 percent of U.S. cases.
Dube, 51, of Kennesaw was diagnosed in 1986 during a routine physical. He has ridden in the diabetes association’s annual bike rides for many years.
Having diabetes has caused him to make better life choices, Dube said. “It’s a struggle. But it’s not a thing that should just keep you down and out.”
Dube made the necessary lifestyle changes, including cycling and other exercise and changes to his diet.
“It starts with your mind-set,” he said. “You have to be positive and aggressive to fight it.”
For more information on diabetes, go to www.yourdiabetesinfo.org, which is part of a partnership of the CDC and the National Institutes of Health that provides resources to improve the treatment and outcomes of people with the disease, promotes early diagnosis, and works to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
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