East Texans Rank High in Diabetes Cases

Does living in East Texas put you at a higher risk of developing diabetes? Doctors say while the risk is not actually higher in East Texas, area residents are getting the disease in record numbers due to poor dietary habits and little exercise.

To get the word out, Trinity Mother Frances Health System is turning to education fairs, like the Diabetes Education Fair 2002. Scores of East Texans showed up at the event on Friday.

Dr. Meg Reitmeyer, an endocrinologist with Mother Frances, says between 6 % to 8 % of the American population is diabetic, compared to an estimated 10 % in East Texas alone. Reitmeyer says many Type-2 diabetes cases are preventable.

She also says diet trends in East Texans are the number one problem.

"I also think lack of exercise facilities in communities is a big factor," she adds. "In larger cities, more cosmopolitan areas, you have more gyms, YMCA's and better access to fitness facilities."

The Diabetes Education Fair offers free advice on preventing the disease, and gives patients a first-hand look at new treatment options and equipment.

Kerri Panchuk, reporting.