Better diet and more exercise are most important. Initiatives have been undertaken in Oklahoma to reinstate physical education in schools, to reduce or remove access to soft drinks and to upgrade the school menus. But what children (and adults) do at home is a major piece of this puzzle. Too many Oklahomans live at or below the poverty line, so fruits and vegetables lose out to less-expensive and less-healthy foods. As for exercise, that all too often gives way to video games and 150-channel TV.
Officials estimate 15 percent of black and American Indian adults in Oklahoma have diabetes. This has the attention of researchers. No doctorate degree is needed to see that without changes in personal habits, the folks at the Harold Hamm center will have more than enough cases to keep them busy, and the costs related to diabetes in Oklahoma — now placed at about $3 billion annually — will only go up.