A new health report finds nearly 7-percent of all Iowans have diabetes and the numbers are climbing every year. Chris Carmichael, national spokesman for the Tour de Cure, says the cause of diabetes is still a mystery, but both genetics and environmental factors like obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles. “It’s a growing concern nationally,” Carmichael says. “Nearly 26-million people have diabetes and if this trend continues, by 2050, one in three adults will have diabetes.”

In Iowa, the latest studies find 6.9-percent of the population has diabetes, or about 207,000 Iowans. “Almost everybody has been touched by diabetes in some form, whether you have it yourself or a family member or a friend,” Carmichael says. “That’s why we need to get out, get active and raise some money to eventually find a cure that stops it.”

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Several bicycling fundraisers for diabetes research are planned in the coming months in Iowa and in the region. “Go to diabetes.org/tour and you can find out all the information you need to know in order to get signed up and start fundraising for Tour de Cure events,” Carmichael says.

Events include: May 31st in Omaha, June 7th in Clive, June 28th in Coralville and July 12th in Sioux Falls. Most have family-friendly rides as short as five or ten miles, with longer options of 20, 50 and 100 miles.