HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Nationally, studies are showing an increasing rate of children with “prediabetes.”

Health officials say “prediabetes” is what someone could be diagnosed with if their “blood glucose levels are higher than normal,” but it’s not high enough to be labeled Type 2 diabetes.

The Mountain State was recently ranked the least healthy state and – with that – trends are showing an increase in diabetes for residents, of all ages, across the board.

Why are the numbers so high?

Casey Napier, the prevention coordinator for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, credits the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources in saying, “We have an estimated number of persons with diabetes at 240,626 and there are 65,210 West Virginians who are undiagnosed. That’s going back to just not being aware, due to the access. Being in West Virginia may have difficulty accessing education, care, and the management.”

She says there are other issues that could contribute to this like co-morbidity, obesity, hypertension, etc.

At the start of 2022, West Virginia implemented a Diabetes Action Plan to combat the rising numbers.

Some of the actions include:

  • Increasing the per ounce tax rate for sugar-sweetened drinks
  • Expand broadband accessibility to improve health equity via telehealth
  • Increase insulin availability
  • Conduct a marketing campaign to increase awareness

The Cabell County Health Department also has a “Risk Test” available for residents to complete to see if you’re prediabetic.