Diabetes-related deaths hit record levels in New York City in 2011, with Type 2 diabetes surging along with an epidemic of obesity, the city's health department reported Monday.
"Overall, one person dies of diabetes-related causes every 90 minutes, adding up to 16 deaths a day in New York City", the health department said.
It found that diabetes-related deaths reached a new high of 5,695 in 2011, despite a decrease in the city's overall mortality rate.
The health department said 650,000 adults reported living with Type 2 diabetes, up by 200,000 from 2002.
Diabetes "is linked to our epidemic of obesity, and like obesity, it can be prevented," said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said.
He said 34 percent of New Yorkers are overweight and an additional 22 percent are obese, a problem that starts in the city's preschools, where one child in five is obese.
"Since 1990, the proportion of all New York City deaths related to diabetes nearly doubled, from 6.0 percent in 1990 to 10.8 percent in 2011."
The spread of the disease varies widely between communities.
African-Americans are the hardest-hit—116 diabetes-related deaths per 100,000 inhabitants— followed by Hispanics with 81 deaths per 100,000, compared to 45 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic whites, according to the statistics.
Across all races, diabetes more commonly affects the poor (114/100,000) and men (80/100,000 compared to 58/100,000 for women).
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration recently has ramped up to tackle curb obesity and diabetes, with mixed success.
A controversial measure introduced by Bloomberg last year restricting the sale of 16-ounce (470-milliliter) soft drinks in fast food restaurants and other establishments, was struck down by a judge as "arbitrary."
The mayor, who has since launched a campaign to raise awarenes about the health risks associated with sugary drinks, has announced plans for an anti-obesity campaign encouraging healthy eating and exercise.
The trend in New York City exemplifies a nationwide problem. The number of adult diabetes sufferers has taken off in the United States since 1995, with a 50% increase in 42 states and a 100% increase in the remaining 18, US statistics show.