WV LEADS NATION WITH DIABETES - State Schools Looking At Nutrition Problems

Diabetes is a disease experts are calling one of the worst health hazards facing the earth's population.

Its incidence in Calhoun County and West Virginia is near epidemic.

West Virginia ranks highest in the nation with diabetes, with a continuing increase.

Most health experts say they don't see the tide turning anytime soon.

Currently, about 215,000 adults in West Virginia are living with diabetes.

That's more than 12 percent of the total population.

Another 70,000-plus are considered at high risk of getting the disease in the near future.

Doctors stress that diet and exercise are crucial weapons in the war on diabetes - a message that many times falls on deaf ears.

Sources indicate that the sale of sugar-filled soft drinks in Calhoun County is the highest in the region.

The State Board of Education is continuing to evaluate the sale of sugar-laden soft drinks in school systems, along with a number of other unhealthy foods, which are leading to obesity and other high risk diseases.

Rick Goff, the executive director of the state's Office of Child Nutrition told the West Virginia Board of Education yesterday that school kids have an unhealthy diet.

Goff passed around vials of sugar to show how much sugar is contained in a single can of soda.

The board is considering again whether to recommend stricter nutrition guidelines to the Legislature.