Special Report

States With the Largest Increase in Diabetes in a Decade

About one in 10 Americans, or 34.2 million people, live with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data through 2018. And one in three people in the country – or 88 million adults — have prediabetes, which is higher than normal blood sugar level that can turn into diabetes if left untreated.

New cases of diabetes have been skyrocketing among young people, and the overall rates of the chronic condition have been on the rise in every state over the last several years.

To determine the states with the highest increase in people with diabetes in a decade, 24/7 Tempo reviewed 2011 and 2021 diabetes data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. The data released in the 2011 and 2021 reports are for years 2008 and 2017, respectively.

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational. People with Type 1 diabetes, comprising about 5%-10% of diabetes cases, make very little or no insulin — a hormone made by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body by allowing cells to store the broken down sugars, or glucose (the body’s energy source). Those with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day. 

People with Type 2 diabetes may produce insulin, but they don’t use it well. Their body is not capable of regulating blood sugar levels. The third type, gestational diabetes, develops in pregnant women. Blood sugar levels usually return to normal after childbirth.

Several factors may increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. The ones that cannot be controlled are age and family history. Those that can be controlled include a sedentary lifestyle and a healthy diet. Obesity is a leading risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

Obesity and severe obesity trends have generally increased over the past decade. In fact, the share of adults who are obese has increased in every state between 2008 and 2017, though the range of increase is significant — from 5.9% in Michigan to 22.1% in Iowa.

Increased use of foods high in sugar, fried foods, and processed foods has contributed to unhealthy eating patterns among Americans. These foods can induce chronic inflammation, which can lead to diabetes.

Some diseases, including diabetes, have a particular odor and vague symptoms that seem completely normal daily activities — like drinking coffee and eating cookies. Here are 18 ordinary habits that can be signs of serious health problems.

Click here to see states with the largest increase in diabetes in a decade.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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