Diabetes in Kansas: A pending tidal wave

With larger waistlines come more health problems

The diabetes epidemic is directly tied to the increase in obesity rates among Kansans. In the past 15 years, as the state’s residents have gotten fatter, the rate of those diagnosed with diabetes has increased by 88 percent.

Kansas’ expanding waistline

Nation’s diabetes epidemic has serious consequences for Kansas

In 2008, more than one in four Kansans were considered obese — a number that has increased by 76 percent in the past 15 years. With extra weight come serious consequences. Chief among them is the explosion in the number of adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. “’Epidemic’ is a strong word and, yet, that is exactly what this is,” said Jon Stewart, CEO of the Leo Center, which offers health care through its medical clinic. “This isn’t a virus. This is not a bacterial infection. This is born largely out of choices people make again and again and again.”

Diabetes state costs

Shelly Bointy teaches a class on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2009, about diabetes at Haskell Indian Nations University.

Haskell offers class for those at highest risk for diabetes

Minorities — including Hispanics, blacks and some Asians — have higher rates of diabetes than the average population. At the top are American Indians. Of the adults who use Indian Health Services, 16.5 percent have diabetes — a rate more than double the national average. One class at Haskell Indian Nations University hopes to educate students on ways to prevent the disease.


labmonkey 8 years, 4 months ago

Now if Wilford Brimley taught us anything, the correct pronounciation of Diabetes is Dia-beat-us.

MyDogHoudini 8 years, 4 months ago

Why is self control such a problem for people? People eat more than their body can handle. People spend more money than they have.

Matthew Herbert 8 years, 4 months ago

It is important to note that not all diabetes is entirely tied to obesity. I have a very close family member who is a diabetic, but who also happens to be a SWAT team member and is in peak physical fitness. Eliminating obesity, while certainly beneficial, does not eliminate diabetes.

TheGreatOz 8 years, 4 months ago

Yes...eliminating obesity isn't going to eliminate diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is not related to weight. I was a scrawny four-year-old when I was diagnosed. A lot of times, I've noticed, that Type 2, which can be treated with diet, exercise and pills, can also turn into Type 1, insulin-dependent. It's not fun..."shooting up" multiple times a day, checking glucose levels at least four times a day, counting carbs every time I eat something...but I have to do it or suffer the consequences. I'm glad you're running these articles on the disease.

Maybe you should have a little article on Type 1 diabetes as well. Really, diabetes is becoming more and more common. Yes, it's true that a lot of the new cases are Type 2, but there are a lot of little kids being diagnosed as well. And not just the couch potatoes.

Matt Schwartz 8 years, 4 months ago

parents are feeding there kids pop tarts for breakfast and driving them to school from two blocks away....the apples a too far from the trees...fat trees at that.

Robert Rauktis 8 years, 4 months ago

Yeah. And there are smokers who don't get lung cancer and live to 100. But weight control and exercise would take the "epidemic" out of this malady. And moderate the repercussions of the illness.

There are some things that can be fixed without a doctor.

FreshAirFanatic 8 years, 4 months ago

SF...I would even go so far as to say most of this country's health problems can be fixed without a doctor.

FBrumm 8 years, 4 months ago

I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when I was 21. Sure, my weight is a factor, but it doesn't happen to be the largest one. Mine was inherited. My mother and both sets of my grandparents are diabetic as well as several members in my extended family. My diabetes didn't come from being obese (which I most certainly am not - just a bit overweight, thank you very much), so I would very much like to know where they got their information from because stating "facts" without giving me their sources isn't going to just up and make it true.

workinghard 8 years, 4 months ago

Diabetes is fast becoming a problem among pets also. I spend about $200 a month treating the cat's diabetes. He was not fat and had been fed Science Diet cat food for the entire 10 yrs of his life. Talked to someone who has his sister who has also developed diabetes but was fed regular cat food from the store.

headdoctor 8 years, 4 months ago

Renaissance (Anonymous) says… It is important to note that not all diabetes is entirely tied to obesity. I have a very close family member who is a diabetic, but who also happens to be a SWAT team member and is in peak physical fitness. Eliminating obesity, while certainly beneficial, does not eliminate diabetes.

Nice try at the truth but if you didn't know you will soon that there are several posters on here that are clueless and or just want to run their mouth for a good rant about obese people.

While eating right and exercise is a very good start. There are things that many do not know or wish to ignore. I believe the following are very good reasons for diabetes to be on the increase. Our diets since at least the 1800's have had increases in sugar content and decreases in fiber but some of the biggest problems is our increased use or over use of Chlorine, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Aspartame.

Chlorine in the body coverts to a chemical called aloxin which Scientists have used to induce diabetes in lab animals. It attacks and destroys the Beta cells located in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas.

High Fructose Corn Syrup has been know to cause a very high frequency of diabetes in lab animals so why wouldn't it in humans?

Even though they are still arguing over it Aspartame has been associated with a variety of ailments including diabetes. It is suppose to be safe at lower doses but Americans usually don't have the ability to use things in moderation.

relaytheurgency 8 years, 4 months ago

Is "tidal wave" a quantitative or qualitative assessment?

mom_of_three 8 years, 4 months ago

I concur that diabetes is not necessarily tied to weight. My dad was diagnosed about 5 years ago, and has to check his blood with a meter. But he can handle his with his diet. He was not overweight and was very active. Never worked a desk job - he was a sheet metal mechanic all of his life. But it is prevalent in his family so I am keeping an eye on myself.
I also know several teenagers that have it, and all are very active in sports and are healthy, normal sized teenagers.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 4 months ago

Like all statistics, they can be warped to support anyone's situation. Clearly, diet and lack of excercise are contributing. Someday, calories will be taxed and a person's BMI will determine their health insurance rates. There will be lots of gnashing of teeth and wailing, but the time is coming for a fast-food and soda pop tax. We use taxes to influence behaviors (corporate breaks for moving overseas, to cite one example); it's time to consider behavior changes for the general population and their dietary habits.

ontheroadfitness 8 years, 4 months ago

We shouldn't use BMI to determine health insurance rates. If anything, we should use body fat percentage to determine insurance rates. BMI does not distinguish between body fat and muscle mass so you could have a weight lifter with 10% body fat that has a BMI in the overweight / obese category.

inspire 8 years, 4 months ago

I'd go one step farther than headdoctor- processed foods definitely contribute to the alarming rates of diabetes, but I am astounded that the 'experts' keep suggesting low fat diets as a way to manage this disease. If low fat diets worked, we would NOT have this epidemic of diabetes! When dairy products, salad dressings, and the like are made 'low fat', the fat has been removed and replaced with HFCS, sugar, etc which makes the food have a much higher glycemic index. This is absolutely the worst thing a diabetic could eat! Eating dairy products in their most natural form, would likely go a long way toward easing this epidemic. The whole issue of red meat is another story, but diabetics would be wise to choose grass fed/finished beef and I would bet they will see their blood glucose levels decrease!!

Jim Scales 8 years, 4 months ago

Walmart is partly blame. low income families shop a Walmart and purchase low-priced high-fat foods because its cheap. but Walmart's produce section is 1/4 the size of Hyvee or Dillons. and their selection of fresh fruits and vegetables is dismal.

Jim Scales 8 years, 4 months ago

I guess I should modify my statement regarding low income families shopping at walmart. Walmart shoppers are not all low-income. I shop there occasionally. I went there last night and they had no fresh fruit to speak of. You can't blame the consumer entirely for the Diabetes problem. US companies are marketing high-fructose products like 'fruit-chews' as healthy snacks when they are nothing more than fruit flavored marshmellows.

xav1209 8 years, 4 months ago

This is for The Great Oz. You said that type 2 diabetics can turn into Type 1, that is an incorrect statement. I am a type 1 too and type 2's can be insulin dependent but they are still type 2's.

Harry Tuttle 8 years, 4 months ago

Head Doctor has it right. HFCS and Aspertaim will kill you. The FDA is bought off and no longer cares about the citizens but only corporate profit.

Centerville 8 years, 4 months ago

lawrencekansas: No fresh fruit at WalMart? Come on! You'll have to do better than that!

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