Southern and Appalachian states lead CDC's list of least active and have highest rates of type 2 diabetes

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that residents of the South and Appalachia have the highest rates of leisure time inactivity, obesity and type 2 diabetes in the country.

One of the best things that a person can do to avoid obesity and diabetes is to maintain high levels of physical activity. However, the new report shows that few people in these parts of the country are heeding this advice. The consequences are evident in the high rates of diabetes.

States where residents are least likely to be active during their free time include Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee, according to the report. Roughly 29 percent of these states' population did not participate in any type of physical activity in their leisure time.

The CDC also estimated diabetes rates across the country and found that the prevalence closely matched inactivity rates.

Officials said that physical activity is one of the key measures for maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding type 2 diabetes. Even simple activities like walking, gardening or golfing can be enough to help individuals increase their activity levels.

"Physical activity is crucial to managing diabetes and reducing serious complications of the disease," said Ann Albright, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. "Moderate intensity activities, such as dancing or brisk walking, for just 150 minutes a week, can significantly improve the health of people with diabetes or at high risk for the disease."

Since the data collected is broken down by counties, officials said that local health authorities can use it to develop targeted anti-diabetes programs that are designed to get the least active populations moving more.
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