There's a high correlation between diabetes and low income, report says

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If you live in Minnesota and make less than $35,000 a year, you're two and a half times more likely to have diabetes compared to those with higher incomes.

That's according to a report released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

It is unclear if low income causes diabetes or if it's the other way around.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, scientific literature says low socioeconomic status in childhood or mid-life can contribute to diabetes, but also adults with diabetes are more likely to not work or retire early – so either factor could explain the correlation.

“This research highlights the close links between health, income and financial stability,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a statement. “It’s an unhealthy cycle in which low income can contribute to getting diabetes, and having diabetes can limit a person’s earnings and ability to work.”

Seven percent of adults in Minnesota have diabetes, the report notes, and one in three of them is not working, which could mean they're unable to work, retired or just chose not to work, compared with one in 10 adults who do not have diabetes and are not working.

You can read more about the correlation between low-income and diabetes in an article by LiveScience here.

So what should be done about it?

The report recommends eliminating co-pays and other cost-related barriers for those with low incomes or no insurance to receive assistance from clinics or programs like the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

“Every day in our work, we see how financial barriers can make it more difficult for people to avoid or manage diabetes,” Susan Klimek, American Diabetes Association area director for Minnesota and North Dakota said in a statement. "To help with these challenges, we are focused on advocating for affordable access to screenings, medications and health care, community changes that promote healthy eating and physical activity and efforts that support people in the workplace.”

Under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Diabetes Prevention Program is made up of a variety of health-related public and private organizations aiming to prevent and delay diabetes in the U.S. through lifestyle changes.

A list of Minnesota cities with clinics that offer the program can be found here.

The report also concluded that poverty itself needs to be addressed, because unemployment, food security and health are all tied together.

U.S. counties with greatest rates of poverty have the greatest rates of diabetes too, according to an article by the American Diabetes Association.

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