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Pember: Obesity threatening Indian Country

"Since the 1940s, Indians have struggled with an unprecedented epidemic of obesity and diabetes in their communities. The incidence of diabetes among Indians is more than double that of non-Hispanic whites, and more than 80 percent of those diagnosed are obese. They also are more than four times as likely to die of diabetes-related illness than white people.

Before the 1940s, however, type II diabetes, characterized by high blood levels of glucose and closely linked with obesity, virtually was nonexistent in Indian country.

In the overall U.S. population, current studies indicate that diabetes has increased more than 50 percent since 1980, and currently more than 30 percent of the population is classified as obese. The federal government recently designated obesity as a disease."

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: Obesity in American Indians may be harbinger (The Grand Forks Herald 8/1)