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diabetes prevention

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Diabetes prevention on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation in South Dakota

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About 125,000 diabetics live in West Virginia, according to Gallup Healthways. Another estimated 125,000 are near-diabetic, but can still head it off. Less than half have ever talked with anyone who could show them how to prevent or control "sugar" through physical activity, what they eat, and medication management, according to a federal Centers for Disease Control survey.

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Fifty-four-year-old Everette Ray Roberts was one of an estimated 69,000 West Virginians who have diabetes, but don't know it.

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For four hours, Bill Hall used to lie on a padded vinyl recliner, one arm stretched out, two thick needles sticking out of it. One needle drained the blood from his body. The other put it back.

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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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Journalist Kate Long examines how some West Virginians are changing their lifestyles to drop pounds and reduce their risk of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. West Virginia has one of the highest chronic disease rates in the nation.

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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.

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Valerie Ruelas is the Director of the Community Diabetes Initiatives of the University of Southern California and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles managing the program‚s research grants and projects. Ms. Ruelas has received a grant from the California Community Foundation and worked with the South Los Angeles community to establish a farmers market in Watts and developed a promotora program to assist in the Hubert Humphrey Health Center‚s diabetes program ˆ a sister clinic of the Roybal Health Center.

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We continue our 5-part series on the high cost of health care in America.

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