Diabetes epidemic worsens in LA County

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A new public health study shows the highest numbers ever for type 2 diabetes in Los Angeles County.

The latest Department of Public Health report looks at type 2 diabetes rates among adults between 1997 and 2007. It shows an increase from six-and-a-half to 9 percent for a total of 650,000 people with the disease.

At the same time, obesity rates rose from 14 to 22 percent – that’s more than one in every five adults. The department’s Dr. Tony Kuo calls the numbers a tragedy.

It’s quite a large number of people suffering from a disease that has a lot of complications. The most important risk factor is obesity. In many of these cases they can be prevented, or if you already have the disease, it can be controlled.

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in L.A. County. Public health officials promote healthier diets and 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day to help prevent it.