Diabetes and Obesity Information

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Diabetes and Obesity Information

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease characterized by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or a combination of the two. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease or stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. The three major types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. Further details about each of these types can be found at the American Diabetes Association - Diabetes Basics.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) it is estimated 26.9% of all people in the United States over 65 years old have diabetes, and 11.3% of all people over the age of 20. In the early 2000s, using fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1c, the CDC also estimated that 35% of United States adults aged 20 years or older had prediabetes. A major factor contributing to this epidemic is obesity.

How is obesity defined?

An adult’s risk factor for future health problems can quantified by calculating what is known as a Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated from a person's height and weight, and this value correlates with the amount of body fat. However, BMI does not directly measure body fat. An adult who has between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, and is further categorized as obese when the BMI is greater than 30. Calculate your BMI here using the CDC - BMI calculator.

Being obese, or even just overweight, increases ones risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. North Carolina has the 10th highest adult obesity rate. In fact, 65% of adults in North Carolina are overweight or obese. If obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030 58% of adults in North Carolina will be obese. Although the cost medical care for obesity related factors in the United States are difficult to calculate, estimates place the burden at over $150 billion per year.