Beginning on Diabetes Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association will rally the public to "Join the Million Challenge," which will run through April 22. The goal is to encourage people to help stop diabetes by taking the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and to inspire their friends, family members and colleagues to do the same. The association is aiming to get 1 million people to take the test.
The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Risk Test will tell you whether you are at low, moderate or high risk for type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that if you are at high risk, make an appointment to talk with your health care provider.
Recent research published in the April 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine identifies a "diabetes belt" in the southeastern US. The belt, which includes 644 counties in 15 states, has a significantly higher prevalence of diabetes.
The diabetes belt includes portions of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as the entire state of Mississippi.
Data from the diabetes belt showed prevalence rates at 11 percent or higher. By comparing demographics and risk factors such as gender, age, education, sedentary lifestyle, obesity and race/ethnicity, the researchers found four factors that distinguished the diabetes belt from the rest of the country.
Nearly one-third of the difference in diabetes prevalence between the diabetes belt and the rest of the US is associated with sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Thirty percent of the excess risk was associated with modif?able risk factors, and 37 percent with nonmodif?able factors, such as age and race/ethnicity.
Does this mean that you're going to get diabetes if you happen to live in the diabetes belt? Not necessarily. Lawrence E. Barker, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study, says "People who live in the diabetes belt will reduce their chance of developing type 2 diabetes if they are more active physically and, for those who are overweight or obese, if they lose weight. Taking these steps will eventually lower the prevalence of diabetes within the diabetes belt."
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