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Tom Wilemon

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Tom Wilemon avoided jargon like "social determinants," instead revealing the tragedy behind diabetes, a disease he describes as "so pervasive, so obvious, so accepted here in the South that people do not see it for the public health threat that it is."

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Wisconsin has long ranked near the bottom of states in taking serious actions against doctors, according to Public Citizen. In the group's latest report, the state ranked 46th, up from 49th the previous three years.

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Experts debate whether fast food trumps soul food as a contributing factor to diabetes in the south.

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Savitri R. Matthews, director of programs for the American Diabetes Association in Nashville, is walking proof that people can succeed in warding off the disease. Matthews used to weigh 296 pounds. Now, she weighs 138.

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Dialysis is lifeline for many as kidney failure in Tennessee has doubled in the last two decades.

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While a citywide effort promotes healthier eating and more physical activity, there is no comprehensive, coordinated campaign to target diabetes where it is most prevalent.

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