In some communities, more than 15% of the adult population has diabetes — and that can have a severe impact on residents’ financial situations.
The city with the highest rates of diabetes in the nation: Mobile, Ala., where nearly 18% of adults have the disease, according to data on 190 communities across the country released this week from research firm Gallup and well-being company Healthways. That’s followed by Charleston, W.Va. (17.6%) and Corpus Christi, Texas (16.9%). Throughout the nation, 11.5% of Americans have diabetes, up from 10.6% in 2008.
On the flip side, the lowest rates of diabetes are in Boulder, Colo., where fewer than 5% of residents have diabetes; followed by Bellingham, Wash., (6.1%); and Fort Collins, Colo. (6.5%). For its part, Boulder is consistently ranked as one of the cities with the most physically fit residents in the nation
One of the reasons the rates of diabetes are on the rise is that obesity — a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, which makes up about 95% of all diabetes cases — is on the upswing. In 2008, 25.5% of adults in America were obese; now the rate is 28.3%.
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For individuals with diabetes, the costs are staggering: People diagnosed with diabetes “incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes,” according to the American Diabetes Association. Furthermore, “people with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes,” the association writes. They also have indirect costs, including increased absenteeism and reduced productivity at work.
It’s important to point out that the Gallup/Healthways asked individuals if they’d been diagnosed with diabetes; it’s possible some individuals could have the disease and not have been diagnosed with it, which would skew the numbers.