ELIZABETHTOWN - New data suggests that Essex County has the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the region.
According to Essex County Department of Public Health Educator Jessica Darney Buehler, 11.3 percent of adults in the county have diabetes.
This figure is a dramatic increase over a 2003 seven-county survey that found area rates of about 6.3 percent.
Buehler said this number is increasing rapidly as a result of an explosion of the Type 2 form, which is related to behavioral causes.
Collected in 2008, the 11.3 percent figure dwarfs prevelence rates in other area counties, she said.
According to data collected by the Center for Disease Control, 9.7 percent of New York State residents have been diagnosed with diabetes. The Clinton County population has a 9 percent diabetes prevalence rate and Franklin is 9.9 percent.
"What we are seeing is a result of the types of foods available and the types of jobs people are doing," Buehler said. "We are a far more sedentary people now then we were in the past."
The CDC has been warning that Type 2 Diabetes may become one of the largest health risks among Americans in the coming decades.
Some federal public health specialists are predicting reduced median life spans of future generations because of the prevalence of Type 2.
Type 2 diabetes has been a public health concern for decades on Native American reservations, sometimes afflicting up to 50 percent of a given population.
"We need to look at our systems," Buehler said. "We have to redesign our communities and our lifestyles in order to deal with this."