Study Finds A Growing Diabetes, Obesity Epidemic In California

According to a new study conducted by researchers from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, a majority of adults in California are considered obese or overweight and with more than 2 million diagnosed with diabetes. The researchers are seeing this as a growing epidemic that may become a great concern for those living in California.

Obesity and diabetes, along with heart disease which is usually related conditions to each other, saw a significant increase in just six years. The prevalence of diabetes alone increased by 26 percent from the period between 2001 and 2007. According to the researchers, the growing epidemic affected every racial, ethnic, geographic or economic segment in the state. The obesity and diabetes seemed to have increased among all racial and ethnic groups from the said time period.

According to Dr. Allison Diamant, a faculty associate with the center and an associate adjunct professor of general internal medicine and health services research as well as the co-author of the study, “When so many people of different ages, income and educational levels, and cultural backgrounds are struggling with obesity and diabetes, it suggests that ‘going on a diet’ is not enough. We need to take a hard look at the environmental and structural factors that contribute to these conditions.”

Dr. Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment which supported the study says, “Local governments must support community efforts to bring in healthy food to these communities and expand opportunities for children and families to engage in physical activity by cleaning up parks and improving community safety.”

In California, the total costs associated with diabetes is estimated to reach $24 billion every year, with $17 billion spent on direct medical care and $7 billion used on indirect costs associated with the said disease. In the same way, the cost of obesity in the state reaches $21 billion each year and is being paid for by families, employers, the health care industry and the government. As obesity and diabetes affects more and more people in the state, the associated costs will continue to grow.

Although the state of California has enacted reforms to encourage healthy eating among its populace, the study authors advise that more needs to be done to promote environments that encourage healthy eating as well as regular exercise among people living in the said state.



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