The Pan American Journal of Public Health recently published a special edition reporting on issues of diabetes along the U.S. Mexico Border. This special issue reports the results of the U.S.-Mexico Border Diabetes Prevention and Control Project, a binational research effort coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in collaboration with the CDC, the ministry of health of Mexico, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, and the California Endowment.
Findings based on data collected between 2001 and 2002 in 16 U.S. counties and 28 Mexican municipalities show that 70% of persons with diabetes on the border are overweight or obese, and only 30% participate in regular physical activity. The studies also found that people of Mexican descent on both sides of the border are more likely to have diabetes but to be unaware of it, putting them at additional risk for diabetes complications as well as heart disease and stroke. Other key findings include the following facts: diabetes is inversely related to education and socioeconomic levels; nearly 48% of people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, but only 1 in 4 is receiving treatment; more than 60% of people diagnosed with diabetes have at least one other family member with the disease; and obesity appears to be a key factor in the high rate of diabetes in the border area.
The border diabetes project is considered the first research effort to view the border as a single epidemiological unit, with researchers noting that counties and municipalities on both sides of the border have more in common with one another than they do with their respective countries.
Additional information about the project is available at http://www.paho.org/fep/diabetes.