States With the Highest Diabetes Rates

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Diabetes, a potentially fatal condition that impacts how your body turns food into energy, has become a major health issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 133 million Americans have prediabetes or are diabetic. The CDC said that in the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with various forms of the disease has more than doubled. It is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC. (Read about all 15 leading causes of death in America.)

To determine the states with the highest rates of diabetes, 24/7 Tempo reviewed 2022 diabetes data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. The data in the 2022 report is for 2019 and comes from the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Data from that report indicates a link between diabetes and elevated obesity rates, lack of physical activity, limited access to healthy foods, and lower median household income. Rural populations tend to have higher rates of diabetes than their urban counterparts.

The 10 states with the highest prevalence of diabetes have rates exceeding 10%, above the national average of 9.40%. Of those 10 states, eight are in the South. (The outliers are West Virginia and Indiana.)

Mississippi ranks first in diabetes prevalence rate and also first in obesity rate and physical inactivity, and has the lowest median income. The state is second to last in access to healthy foods. Other states with the highest diabetes prevalence are Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Louisiana. (These are the most obese states in America.)

At the other end of the spectrum, the 10 states associated with healthier lifestyles have a lower prevalence of diabetes. These are Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

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