The epidemics of obesity and diabetes most apparent in recent years had their origins with Thomas Edison's development of distributed electricity in New York City in 1882. His original direct current (DC) generators suffered serious commutator brush arcing which is a major source of high-frequency voltage transients (dirty electricity). From the onset of the electrical grid, electrified populations have been exposed to dirty electricity. Diesel generator sets are a major source of dirty electricity today and are used almost universally to electrify small islands and places unreachable by the conventional electric grid. This accounts for the fact that diabetes prevalence, fasting plasma glucose and obesity are highest on small islands and other places electrified by generator sets and lowest in places with low levels of electrification like sub-Saharan Africa and east and Southeast Asia.