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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – More than 10 percent of adults in New York City have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to a study published by the Department of Health.
An estimated 650,000 adult residents city-wide were diagnosed with the disease in 2011, the health department said.
To see the full report, click here.
“As the obesity rate continues to rise in New York City, diabetes is becoming a health crisis,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “What’s most alarming is that more than 200,000 New Yorkers are walking around with this serious disease and don’t even know they’re at risk for blindness, amputation or even worse – premature death.”
Carolyn Olsen with the New York City Department of Health helped compile the report and said the rate of diabetes correlates directly with the obesity rate.
“Obesity is driving diabetes,” she said. “This is not just about individuals. We need to be changing the environment in order to make healthier choices the default.”
New York City comes in worse than the national average of 9.2 percent despite a recent spate of public health initiatives.
Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the city has successfully imposed restrictions on salt, required restaurants to post calorie counts and is currently locked in a controversial battle with the courts to limit the size of sugary drinks to less than 16 ounces.
“We know that obese New Yorkers are twice as likely to have diabetes as other New Yorkers. So the city has a responsibility to do something about this so as part of our overall strategy, we’ve proposed this portion cap that will help reduce consumption of sugary drinks,” Olsen said.
But some argue the disturbing diabetes numbers show more laws aren’t working.
“They’re trying to push people a certain way,” said Staten Island resident Glen Huzinec. “If they don’t want to follow it, they live the way they want to live. People are as healthy as they want to be.”
“You can’t force someone to follow a diet,” said Upper West Side resident Susan Thompson.
The study found diabetes is most prevalent in traditionally lower-income areas, including Fordham-Bronx Park, East New York, Williamsburg, Northeast and South Bronx.
“This is not just about individuals. We need to be changing the environment in order to make healthier choices the default,” Olsen said.
The National Diabetes Association called the trend alarming and warns if nothing is done, 1 in 3 Americans could have diabetes by the year 2050.
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