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Officials hopeful about drop in diabetes, SD Union Tribune

Fewer cases of diabetes are being diagnosed in U.S. adults, according to promising federal statistics released Tuesday.

The number of diabetes cases had been climbing for decades, driven by the nation’s surging obesity rates. In 2009, the number of new cases reached 1.7 million. By last year, it dropped to 1.4 million.

“After so many years of seeing increases, it is surprising,” said Edward Gregg, a diabetes expert who has been tracking the numbers for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is unclear whether the national decline extends to San Diego County. While nationwide diabetes data for 2014 was made public Tuesday, the most recently available countywide statistics are from 2012.

Still, the local pattern is encouraging. According to the CDC, the San Diego region saw a significant decline in diabetes incidence between 2011 and 2012, with the number of cases per 1,000 people dropping from 7.8 to 6.6.

Tuesday’s announcement gave Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, hope that diabetes rates are continuing to drop as an assortment of local programs target weight loss through exercise, healthier eating and stress reduction.

“There have been millions in grants awarded to many community organizations, and it’s quite encouraging to see some indication that all of the effort may be paying off,” Wooten said.

Officially, the CDC does not know for sure what is causing the diabetes rate to decrease.

(Click here to read the full article, written by Paul Sisson, SD Union Tribune)