Oklahoma needs to get serious about addressing diabetes
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, November 17, 2012
11/17/12 at 4:32 AM
The news that Oklahoma had the highest increase in adult diabetes in the 15-year span from 1995 to 2010 is dreadful, although not terribly surprising. Oklahoma regularly lands at the bottom of the list when it comes to measures of health and well-being.
The shocking rate of growth in this serious health problem has all kinds of policy implications. Obviously it's time to get serious about addressing it.
According to the new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in 10 Oklahomans has diabetes. The rate of growth in diabetes cases was 226.7 percent during the period studied. The median increase in the U.S. and Puerto Rico was 82.2 percent, according to the report, which also found that diabetes prevalence has increased in every state and the District of Columbia.
It is well known what is behind this rapid growth in diabetes, not only in Oklahoma but elsewhere. Growing obesity rates, fed by high-calorie, inexpensive foods and sedentary lifestyles, are the primary culprit.
State health leaders for years have advocated practices that would impact not only diabetes rates but other major health problems plaguing Oklahoma, such as cardiovascular disease. But Oklahomans are a stubborn lot when it comes to taking the necessary steps to improve their health.
The ongoing state Health Department education campaign calls on Oklahomans to eat right, move more and avoid tobacco.
"If we would do that as a state, we would be living more healthily, more fully," said Rita Reebes, diabetes prevention coordinator.
We owe it to ourselves, our families and loved ones as well as to fellow taxpayers to adopt these healthy practices. High rates of serious, chronic conditions such as diabetes cost all of us in terms of health-care expenses, lost productivity, insurance premiums and burdens on the health-care infrastructure. We can do better than this.
Original Print Headline: We're No. 1