NU Online News Service, Dec. 16, 2004, 2:48 p.m. EST

Americans’ poor eating habits and lack of exercise are affecting claims at a large Chattanooga, Tenn., disability insurer.[@@]

UnumProvident Corp., the biggest disability insurer, says the number of disability claims filed by workers suffering from type 2 diabetes has doubled since 2001.

The average cost of paying for disability benefits, direct medical costs and related health care costs for disability claimants with diabetes is $33,495 per claimant per year, UnumProvident reports.