Lafayette Parish Shows an Upward Diabetes Trend

Bailey Chenevert

Lafayette, Louisiana, has been rated one of the happiest cities in America by publications such as the Wall Street Journal and WalletHub, which often cite the rich, distinct – and often unhealthy – cuisine of the Cajun South that draws in tourists from all over.

Although Lafayette parish has the second lowest rate of diabetes in Louisiana, data since 2011 shows an upward trend of the chronic disease.

In Louisiana, diabetes, an autoimmune condition that reduces insulin production, afflicts an unprecedented 14.1% of its population. According to data from 2017 (most recent available) that was published by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), the state’s diabetes rate is considerably larger than the national average. Nationwide, the Center for Disease Control reported that 9.6% of American citizens have diabetes.

Louisiana sits in a row of states that consistently report the highest rates of diabetes in the country. Other states with high diabetes rates include Texas and Mississippi.

While still larger than the national average, Lafayette’s diabetes rate is lower than 63 of the 64 parishes in Louisiana – some of which have rates nearly double the national average. At a diabetes rate of 10.1%, Lafayette is right above the state’s lowest rate in St. Tammany parish.

In comparison to other parishes, it seems that despite its foodie culture, Lafayette has a handle on diabetes, a disease often caused by poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyles – but contrary to Lafayette parish’ low ranking, LDH has reported increasing rates of diabetes since 2015. Increasing rates like Lafayette’s were reported in many other parishes, as well.

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