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Cities that want to know what the future holds for obesity and diabetes diagnosis rates just need to look beyond the city limits to rural areas, says Daniel DeNoon in the Harvard Health Blog. DeNoon moderated a panel on rural health at the Association of Health Care Journalists last week in Birmingham. Rates of obesity and diabetes are higher in rural areas and throughout the South in the “Diabetes Belt.” Panelists pointed to barriers in rural areas that contribute to disease: limited access to healthcare, less diabetes education, fewer exercise and nutrition options and higher rates of poverty.

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