Diabetes In The U.S.: Where Does Your State Rank?

Diabetes diagnoses are on the rise, as they have been for decades. Today, nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population is living with some form of the disease, and scientists expect those numbers to rise to 30 percent by 2050. Science and medicine work tirelessly each day to develop treatments, medication, and technology to make living with diabetes more manageable – but, of course, each person living with diabetes or prediabetes should be taking control of their own health.

And according to new research, your level of health management could be influenced by where you live.

A State-Wide Analysis

Researchers at Gallup and Healthways examined the instances of diabetes in all 50 U.S. states, as well as 190 cities across the country. These two groups have been monitoring diabetes occurrences since 2008 – and since that time, the number of adults living with diabetes has risen by 2 million.

Gallup and Healthways have also been studying the rise of obesity. Though the researchers do recognize that, “While not all people with diabetes are obese, and not all who are obese develop diabetes,” their research shows that “[A]bout 54% of middle aged Americans who are obese and have not yet developed diabetes will do so in their lifetime.”

The Best States, and The Worst

This study ranked U.S. states and cities by their population's percentage of adults with diabetes. The number one state, Utah, reported at 7.4 percent occurrence of diabetes. By contrast, the two worst states, Alabama and West Virginia, each reported a diabetes rate of 16.1 percent – even higher than the national level.

However, only a few percentage points separated the worst from the best levels. Coming in at number 10, Wyoming reported a 9.3 percent of diabetes, while North Carolina (at rank 41) was only four percentage points higher, with 13.4 percent.

The Rankings

How did every state stack up? Here's the list:

  1. Utah (7.4%)
  2. Rhode Island (7.6%)
  3. Colorado (7.9%)
  4. Minnesota (8.4%)
  5. Montana (8.7%)
  6. Alaska (8.8%)
  7. Massachusetts (8.9%)
  8. Vermont (8.9%)
  9. Nebraska (9.1%)
  10. Wyoming (9.3%)
  11. New Hampshire (9.4%)
  12. Idaho (9.7%)
  13. Connecticut (9.8%)
  14. Washington (10.1%)
  15. New Mexico (10.1%)
  16. California (10.2%)
  17. Iowa (10.2%)
  18. Nevada (10.2%)
  19. Oregon (10.3%)
  20. Wisconsin (10.4%)
  21. New Jersey (10.4%)
  22. Illinois (10.5%)
  23. South Dakota (10.5%)
  24. North Dakota (10.8%)
  25. Virginia (10.8%)
  26. Delaware (10.8%)
  27. Kansas (10.9%)
  28. Hawaii (11.1%)
  29. New York (11.1%)
  30. Arizona (11.3%)
  31. Maine (11.5%)
  32. Pennsylvania (11.8%)
  33. Texas (11.8%)
  34. Florida (11.9%)
  35. Maryland (11.9%)
  36. Michigan (12.0%)
  37. Indiana (12.2%)
  38. Georgia (12.7%)
  39. Oklahoma (12.9%)
  40. Louisana (13.5%)
  41. North Carolina (13.5%)
  42. Missouri (13.5%)
  43. Ohio (13.5%)
  44. Kentucky (13.7%)
  45. Arkansas (14.1%)
  46. South Carolina (14.4%)
  47. Tennessee (14.4%)
  48. Mississippi (15.6%)
  49. West Virginia (16.1%)
  50. Alabama (16.1%)

The Gallup and Healthways report encouraged communities to focus on diabetes education and healthcare – particularly in those states that saw a higher number of people with the disease. Proper health management, along with quality education from medical professionals, can help to cut back on instances of diabetes and other health complications.

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