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(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Laura Western, executive director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Utah chapter, speaks at the Utah State Capitol, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), American Diabetes Association (ADA), held a press conference to warn Utah legislators and the community about the accelerating rate of diabetes today.
Utah documentary ‘Sugar Babies’ shown for World Diabetes Day
Health » Advocates urge Utahns to get screened.
First Published Nov 14 2013 12:28 pm • Last Updated Nov 14 2013 08:22 pm

A pigtailed pre-schooler squirms in her mother’s arms as she awaits a nurse’s needle, crying and exclaiming, "I don’t want to do my blood!"

An overweight boy muses, "I grew up eating a lot of sugar so it’s hard not to."

At a glance

Diabetes in Utah

One in 14 Utah adults — or more than 135,000 people — have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in Utah.

There are more than 300 hospital discharges a year in Utah for amputations of toes, feet and lower areas of legs for Utahns with diabetes.

Source: Utah Department of Health

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A young man walks with an umbrella, looking at the city around him. "I like my eyesight. A lot," he says. "I’d like to keep it."

The scenes are from "Sugar Babies," a new 40-minute documentary from Salt Lake City filmmaker Jenny Mackenzie. In 2002, her 4-year-old daughter was the third generation in her family to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Watching her daughter cope inspired her to create the film about Type 1 and 2 diabetes, as experienced by her own family and other children.

The recently completed movie was screened for Utah leaders at the state Capitol Thursday in recognition of World Diabetes Day and November’s Diabetes Awareness Month.

A free screening will be offered at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Salt Lake City’s Main Library.

"The breakneck speed at which diabetes is rising in Utah is frightening," said Laura Western, executive director of the Utah chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), in a statement urging Utahns to get screened.

The prevalence of diabetes is higher in Utah’s minority communities; an estimated 12.2 percent of American Indians in Utah and 12 percent of Pacific Islanders have the disease. More than 135,000 Utahns have been diagnosed and an estimated 47,000 adults in the state are unaware they have it, according to the JDRF.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s body fails to produce insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the far more common form, a person’s body does not use insulin properly. Linked to obesity, diets high in sugar and sedentary lifestyles, it is increasingly being diagnosed in children.

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To learn more, Utahns can visit www.jdrf.org and www.stopdiabetes.com.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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