MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Diabetes Alert Day is on Tuesday, and a new study shows a significant link between low income and risk for the disease.

The Minnesota Department of Health found the diabetes rate for adults with annual household incomes less than $35,000 was 12.5 percent. For adults making over $35,000 in annual household income, that number drops to 5 percent.

“Income really has a huge impact on the development of diabetes and the prevalence of diabetes,’ Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said.

Ehlinger pointed to the way income impacts living situations, access to food and health care. He says the study shows it’s not as simple as using willpower for diet and exercise.

“Most people believe that if you just make good personal choices and good medical care, [you can] be healthy,” Ehlinger said. “This report shows if you’re low income, it’s difficult to be healthy.”

He says the study indicates a need for not only education on good health practices, but also emphasis on changing economics.

About one million adults in Minnesota live in households with an annual income below $35,000. The study also found those individuals are more likely to be unable to work than people who do not have diabetes.

Kate Raddatz