Diabetes in Mississippi

This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.

Diabetes is serious, controllable and preventable.

In 2012, Mississippi ranked second in the nation for overall diabetes prevalence, with over 276,000 adult Mississippians having type 2 diabetes (over 12.5% of the adult population).

Four of every 1,000 Mississippi deaths were from diabetes in 2012, accounting for 1,039 total deaths. In addition, many more Mississippians live with the complications of type 2 diabetes, including lower extremity amputations, end stage renal disease, blindness, loss of protective sensation, heart disease and premature death.

Diabetes is preventable. Learn more below about your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and the small steps you can take to delay or prevent the disease and live a longer, healthier life.

About Type 2 Diabetes

Percentage of adults
diagnosed with diabetes,
2011 (CDC)
Interactive Map
What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes is an incurable disease that affects the way the body uses food. Diabetes causes glucose levels in the blood to be too high. Normally, during digestion the body changes sugars, starches, and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Glucose is carried to the body's cells and, with the help of insulin (a hormone), is converted into energy. In healthy people, blood glucose levels are kept within normal ranges by proper insulin function.

People develop type 2 diabetes because the cells in the muscles, liver, and fat do not use insulin properly. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood increases, while the cells are starved of energy. Over time, high blood sugar damages nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputation.

Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Prevented?

Yes. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) found that moderate diet and exercise that results in 5 to 7 percent weight loss can delay and possibly prevent type 2 Diabetes.

I Have Heard the Term "Pre-Diabetes". What is it?

Pre-diabetes simply means that one is at risk for getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If your blood sugar level is higher than normal but lower than the diabetes range, then you have pre-diabetes. The good news is you can reduce the risk of getting diabetes and even return to normal blood sugar levels. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. Learn more »

How much does diabetes cost Mississippi?

  • Total health care and related costs for the treatment of diabetes ran about $3.4 billion in 2013, the latest year for which cost data are available.
  • Of this total, direct medical costs (e.g., hospitalizations, medical care, treatment supplies) account for about $2.4 billion.
  • Out-of-pocket expenditures due to diabetes for Mississippians is estimated to be $303 million.

What's Being Done About Diabetes?

The Mississippi State Department of Health is creating partnerships for diabetes education, prevention and management. The details are in our state Diabetes Action Plan.

High Risk Groups


African-Americans are 77 percent more likely than whites to be diagnosed with diabetes, and one in four African-American women older than 55 has diabetes.

African-Americans with diabetes are also more likely to experience complications from the disease. As of 2009, more than 12% of all African-Americans ages 20 and older have been diagnosed with diabetes.

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American Indians and Alaska Natives

American Indians and Alaska Natives are about twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites of similar age. As of 2009, 16.1 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives 20 years or older served by the Indian Health Service have been diagnosed with diabetes.

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Hispanic and Latino Americans

On average, Hispanics are 66 percent more likely to have diagnosed diabetes as whites. Among Mexican-Americans, the largest Hispanic subgroup, the risk is even higher, at 87%. As of 2009, more than 2 million Hispanic adults (11.8% of the adult population) have diabetes.

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Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders

The rate of diagnosed diabetes in Asian-Americans in 2009 rose to 8.4% of the adult population, and Asian-Americans are at an 18% higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

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Managing Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you can take steps to manage it. One of our self-management training programs can provide skills to help keep you as healthy as possible.

MSDH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program

The MSDH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program works to prevent diabetes in the state, and to reduce the lifestyle and other factors that contribute to diabetes.

For More Information

On-line resources



Print resources

  • Leg Exercises for People with Diabetes Publication #5038
  • 4 Steps to Manage your Diabetes for Life Publication #5044
  • Choose More than 50 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Publication #5045
  • Diabetes Facts for Everyone Publication #5144
  • Being Active If You have Diabetes Publication #5138
  • Tobacco Use and Diabetes Publication #5269

Printed materials can be requested through the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.

MSDH Diabetes Prevention and Control Program
570 East Woodrow Wilson Drive
Jackson, MS 39216
Phone: 601-206-1559

Our free newsletter includes monthly disease updates: 
Last reviewed on Sep 6, 2012

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Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U web@HealthyMS.com
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