ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – About 230,000 adults in New Mexico are diabetic, and a new survey says most people with diabetes could be doing more about it.
According to the Gallup organization, which has done health-related polling for the last decade, diabetes now affects 11.6 percent of the U.S. population, up from 10.6 percent in 2008. The percentage may seem small, but it represents an additional 2.5 million people.
“America keeps getting fatter. That, of course, has the effect of pulling up the overall diabetes rate,” said Gallup research director Dan Witters. “One positive trend that we have seen in recent years is an uptick in exercise levels among American adults. That’s going to help kind of slow that growth.”
Diabetes is the third leading cause of death nationwide, Witters said, and in New Mexico it ranks seventh. A person’s job also can make a difference; transportation workers and those with manufacturing jobs are at greatest risk for Type 2 diabetes because they do a lot of sitting, which can lead to obesity.
In addition to extra weight and lack of exercise, other risk factors are older age, smoking, family history and eating habits. Experts recommend that people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to help keep the extra pounds off, but Witters said Americans in its polling admit they’re not following that advice.
“That one’s just flat as a pancake,” he said. “It hasn’t budged across, well, we’re now in our 10th year of measurement, and people aren’t getting in their five servings of fruits and veggies at least four days a week any better now than they were a decade ago.”
In 2015, New Mexico’s adult obesity rate was nearly 29 percent, up from 17 percent in 2000. Witters said states where incomes are lower and with large rural populations have higher rates of diabetes. Mississippi has the highest rate and Colorado the lowest.
Study results are online at well-beingindex.com.Like this story? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more of our best original news.