Data USA provides a clear illustration of the relationship between obesity and diabetes. As the chart below shows, when looking across the 50 states, it is evident that higher rates of adult obesity (the percentage of adults in the state who are obese) tie to higher rates of diabetes.
Diabetes is costly for the US health care system and the individuals who suffer from the chronic condition. The American Diabetes Association reported that in 2012 the disease’s total estimated cost was $245 billion – $176 billion in direct medical costs and the remainder in reduced productivity. The human cost also is significant – people with diabetes can lose their vision, limbs, sense of touch and – as diabetes progresses – it can turn into end-stage renal disease (ESRD), an even costlier and more challenging condition.
Mississippi leads the nation in measures of both obesity and diabetes. Obesity is measured as a body mass index (BMI) above 30 – the ratio of someone’s weight and height (BMI=kg/m squared). About 35 percent of the state’s adult population is obese and 13 percent of Mississippians have diabetes.
Colorado is at the other end of the spectrum – 20 percent of that state’s population is obese and 6.8 percent has diabetes.