By Bob Weaver

Diabetes nationwide in children has shot up dramatically between 2000 and 2009, according to the Pediatric Academic Societies' meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

The amount of Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, climbed 21% from 2000 to 2009.

The increase in Type 2 diabetes appears to be driven by increasing rates of obesity, lack of exercise and low-quality diets.

West Virginia has been leading the nation with obesity and diabetes, painting a dark picture about the health of the state's next generation.

Most West Virginians seem to be downing gallons of sugar-laden soft drinks and pounds of junk food each week.

Earlier this year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin researchers have ranked West Virginia's 55 counties related to the overall health status of citizens. They used more than two dozen factors such as smoking, drinking, obesity, premature deaths, and other areas including education, access to health care and unemployment.

Of the 55 counties, Calhoun was rated at 31. Pleasants County County was ranked No. 1 and McDowell at 55th. None of the regional counties ranked in the bottom 15.

There is a much greater problem than revealed by the county-wide statistics.

The national studies list the Mountain State as the worst or near-worst in the nation with most health problems.

The statistical report on Calhoun renews earlier studies that indicate rampant problems with obesity, diabetes, and smoking, the studies linking to poor sociology-economic conditions, a high teen birth rate with 30% of county children living in poverty.

West Virginia's school systems say they are improving the quality of school breakfasts and lunches, often to the dismay of students and parents.

It seems that while most citizens are being entertained to death by the hubris of electronic media and "glamour," fixated by the "news" and driven by being politically polarized, they pay little attention to their health and quality of life.

See WEST VIRGINIA IS THE FATTEST STATE - Obesity Connects To Chronic Health Problems, 'I'll Never Go Hungry Again'

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