Diabetes Rises 70% in 30-Somethings in Decade, Study Shows Doctors Cite Obesity, Diet, Lack of Exercise

The Florida Times Union, August 24, 2000 | Go to article overview

Diabetes Rises 70% in 30-Somethings in Decade, Study Shows Doctors Cite Obesity, Diet, Lack of Exercise


ATLANTA -- Diabetes increased at an alarming rate in the United States during the past decade -- rising 70 percent among people in their 30s -- and health experts are blaming the wired-up, couch-potato culture of the 1990s.

Diabetes is closely tied to obesity, and doctors say the higher incidence of the disease is due in large part to America's weight problem.

Obesity is "not just a cosmetic issue anymore," said Frank Vinicor, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's diabetes division.

The share of the population diagnosed with diabetes jumped 33 percent nationally, to 6.5 percent, between 1990 and 1998, the government said yesterday. The rise crossed races and age groups but was sharpest among people ages 30 to 39.

The study, published in the September issue of the journal Diabetes Care, was based on annual telephone surveys in which people were asked whether they have diabetes.

A one-third jump in the incidence of any disease in just eight years is almost unheard of, Vinicor said.

"If that would happen in a disease like tuberculosis, syphilis or AIDS, I think there would be a public outcry, and understandably," Vinicor said. "These trends are very disturbing."

The nation's weight problem is well-documented. The number of obese Americans soared from about one in eight in 1991 to nearly one in five in 1998.

Experts blame several factors -- hundreds of TV channels, stressful jobs that lead us to gulp down fatty fast food, the rise of computers at home and at work, even a construction boom that has gobbled up space for outdoor exercise.

Yesterday's numbers show there are grave consequences to obesity, the government said. …

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