In an article published in the April 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers were able to identify clustered high prevalence areas, or a "diabetes belt" of 644 counties. This 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.
How the Diabetes Belt was Identified
"Identifying a diabetes belt by counties allows community leaders to identify regions most in need of efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes and to manage existing cases of the disease," commented lead investigator Lawrence E. Barker, PhD, Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA. "Although many risk factors for type 2 diabetes can't be changed, others can. Community design that promotes physical activity, along with improved access to healthy food, can encourage the healthy lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes."
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According to Science Daily, there are four factors that differentiate these states and counties from other states and counties in the United States such as a higher African American population, college educated residents are a minority, sedentary lifestyles and obesity all play a major role in the way many of the people in the diabetes belt live. In addition, the four factors are considered main contributors for the development of type 2 diabetes.