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diabetes mellitus

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Glenda has no insurance. She makes $350 every two weeks. If she were diabetic, she could get insulin free through the clinic if she needed it, but not the diabetic finger sticks and testing strips, which cost about $45. "I can't afford to get diabetes," she said.

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Think about this: More than 200,000 West Virginians have contracted a disease that kills people. About 69,000 of them don't know they have it.

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West Virginia has the nation's worst statistics in 10 of 12 categories in the new 2011 Gallup Healthways ranking. More than one in three West Virginians -- 35.3 percent -- are now obese.

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”We want to help get it right,” states diabetes advocacy group

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Continued miscommunication about findings from observational studies is drawing continued criticism from a growing number of observers. Journalists: observe and learn.

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Diabetes among African-American adults has reached epidemic proportions. Healthy Bodies, Healthy Souls -- an innovative public health program in Baltimore -- is going after the problem by connecting with people where they pray.

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Until the 1980s, few West Virginians are overweight in archival photos. In the 1960s and 1970s, during the poverty war, Americans got used to seeing pictures of bone-thin West Virginians on the evening news. Only 13.4 percent of Americans were obese then.

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West Virginia occupies a top slot on almost every awful health ranking: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and others.

Picture of Kate Long

West Virginia is among the top five states on just about every national chronic disease list. Journalist Kate Long investigates what's behind the state's poor showing.

Picture of Eddie North-Hager

While obesity is a problem for Americans in all walks of life, it’s worse when you don’t live near a park, when access to public transportation is limited, when sidewalks are broken and streetlights are few. In fact, a National Institutes of Health study found that just living in a socioeconomically deprived area leads to weight gain and a greater risk of dying at an early age. In stark terms, people in Culver City live an average of eight years longer than people in Jefferson Park, according to Crump. Yet these two communities in the middle of Los Angeles are only a couple of miles apart.

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