Diabetes is on the rise in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 29.1 million people, or 9.3 percent of the US population were diabetic in 2012, and that number is expected to grow.
This is a major public health issue in the US. Diabetes can lead to serious complications like heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputation. It's also quite expensive for the country as a whole: the CDC put the direct and indirect costs of diabetes at $245 billion in 2012.
Diabetes can be caused by poor diet — some experts blame sugar in particular — and genetic predispositions. It can also be brought on by physical inactivity, which is one reason the rise of diabetes closely correlates with increases in obesity.
These three maps, courtesy of Morgan and Morgan, tell the story. They show the rise and spread of diabetes, obesity, and physical inactivity in America. The three health issues largely began in the South, but they've reached all corners of the country since then.
1) Diabetes, once mostly in the South, is now a growing issue in the Midwest
2) Obesity is a big problem all over the country, but it's particularly huge in the South
3) Physical inactivity is one of the causes of both epidemics