Diabetes Highest On Western Slope In Delta County

Sep 26, 2014

Map of Colorado Counties, colored by percentage of residents diagnosed with diabetes.
Credit CDC

Diabetes is a huge issue for Americans. 

The CDC says that between 1980 and 2008, the number of people with diabetes more doubled.  The most recent data shows that the rates are still just as high, but the rapid rise seems to have reached a plateau.  It’s good news, sort of. 

Delta County has the highest rate of diabetes on the Western Slope, afflicting about 8 and a half percent of the residents. 

"It is a continuing problem," says Mary Grosvenor, a dietitian and diabetes educator at Delta County Memorial Hospital. "I probably see five new patients a week.  We also see people with pre-diabetes, and we have a big population that's eligible for that program.  From what I've seen, it seems to be growing," says Mary. 

Mary’s right.  Nationally, rates aren’t decreasing, they’re just not accelerating as much.  In 2011, the most recent data, Delta County had 162 new cases of diabetes.  She has a few ideas why Delta county stands out. 

"Risk factors for diabetes are getting older, and we have an older population.  Also, being Hispanic, and we have a Hispanic population.  Lack of exercise and being overweight [are risk factors] so if you compare us to Denver, they have a young, athletic population.  That's not your typical Delta population," says Mary. 

It should be noted though, that Delta’s 8.6 percent is nothing compared to parts of Alabama or Mississippi, where one out of every 5 people has diabetes.