Southwest Va residents urged to fight diabetes 

Health officials in southwest Virginia are encouraging residents to join the Wise County Diabetes Coalition.

The Virginia Department of Health says the group meets monthly to help encourage active and healthy lifestyles, identify area residents' chronic health conditions, and improve health outcomes related to diabetes and other chronic diseases.

The state health department's Diabetes Prevention and Control Project says that diabetes is 71 percent more prevalent in Virginia's Appalachian region, including Lee, Scott and Wise counties, than elsewhere in the state. The three-county health district leads all districts statewide in diabetes being a contributing or underlying factor in patient deaths.

Diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from the body's inability to produce and utilize insulin. Insulin helps break down glucose into energy.

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