Diabetes affects 10 million Americans

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The incidence of diabetes has reached a record level in the United States, affecting more than 10 million people - a six-fold rise since 1958. An estimated 6 million more may be affected without yet knowing it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the national agencies responsible for collecting medical data, attribute the rise to an increase in obesity, and the fact that people are living longer.

"We are becoming a more overweight population," said Dr Frank Vinicor, head of the CDC's diabetes division. "We are less active and we are also getting somewhat older. If you put all these factors together, we are seeing a chronic disease epidemic occurring."

Some experts believe that the increased consumption of soft drinks and low-fat foods, both of which have a high sugar content, are contributing factors.

- Mary Dejevsky, Washington