An alarming rate of increase is projected for the incidence of diabetes in Texas over the next 30 years. Based on statistics from the Office of the State Demographer, Texas will see an increase of 156,000 new cases of diabetes each year. A newly released report from the Texas Health Institute (THI) recommends a plan of action to curtail these predictions. According to the report, “The State Demographer projects a quadrupling of the number of adult Texans with diabetes from approximately 2.2 million in 2010 to almost 8 million by 2040.” Counties in the Texas border region are expected to be particularly hard hit. Given that rates of diabetes in Hispanic populations are higher than the national average, “There are a large number of Hispanic residents at high-risk of developing diabetes, particularly in South Texas, where obesity rates are very high and insurance coverage is very low.”
Responding to the Epidemic: Strategies for Improving Diabetes Care in Texas
Richard Carmona: Obesity a Threat to US Security
Speaking at a conference in San Antonio on Thursday, former surgeon general Richard Carmona characterized obesity as a threat to national security (reported in Express-News).
Salmonella identified in Texas / New Mexico
Earlier this week, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported on 35 confirmed cases Saintpaul strain of the Salmonella. Counties with confirmed cases are: Bell, Cameron, Dallas (4), Fort Bend, Harris (15), Hays (4), Jim Wells, Nueces (5), San Patricio, Tarrant, and Travis.
Specific types and source of tomatoes are still under investigation.
At this time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising that people in New Mexico and Texas limit their raw tomato consumption to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes sold with the vine still attached and tomatoes grown at home. Raw tomatoes often are used in fresh salsa, guacamole or pico de gallo.
San Antonio Marketing Campaign Will Promote Healthy Lifestyles
According to a July 7 article in the San Antonio Business Journal, The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has contracted with Interlex, a locally-headquartered, Hispanic-owned advertising agency, to develop a marketing campaign aimed at combating obesity and improving the overall health of the city. Metro Health will finance the project with $1 million in funds from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative.
All together, the Centers for Disease Control awarded the city more than $15.6 million for programs aimed at reducing the risk of chronic disease. Other projects supported by the grant will make the city safer and more accessible for bike riders, develop farmer’s markets in communities with health disparities, and build partnerships with school districts, parks, faith-based organizations and universities to allow public use of recreational facilities to promote active lifestyles.
San Antonio receives federal grant to fight childhood obesity
San Antonio, where a recent study showed that 30% of children aged eight to ten are obese, has received a 15.6 million dollar federal grant funded through government stimulus money that will be used to fight childhood obesity. The funding, announced on Friday, March 19 and discussed in the San Antonio Express News on March 20, will focus on both increased physical activity and education to make better choices. The funding will be spent to
- Establish the “Active Living Council of San Antonio”
- Implement a “Ride to Own” bicycle fleet program
- Create an Internet-based health and wellness portal
- Train schools to improve physical education and food choices for their students
- Expand the Healthy Menu initiative in area restaurants
- Increase the number of safe crosswalks and intersections
San Antonio’s public health, schools may not be included in federal stimulus package
Last Friday the Express-News reported that San Antonio’s draft “wishlist” for projects to be supported by a federal stimulus package did not include projects for local schools or San Antonio’s Metro Health.
Science Expo 2011
Health Professionals of Tomorrow storm UT Health Science Center
The UT Health Science Center played host to nearly 1,500 students from all over San Antonio and South Texas on November 12, 2011. The majority of the students were high school seniors and juniors with a few extra who came along for the ride. The enthusiasm and excitement displayed by the students was exciting and spoke well of the future of medicine in the hands of these possible upcoming professionals. The UT Health Science Center Briscoe Library sponsored an exhibit table in the medical lecture hall commons area during the Science Expo. On exhibit were such things as the availability of MedlinePlus, the PubMed database and how to effectively use the National Library of Medicine resources. Also on hand were materials containing information on medical librarianship and available scholarships. Many students had never encountered the MedlinePlus database and were extremely surprised at the amount of information available to them. A few students did admit that they were still trying to decide on a career and were quite engaging when asked about their foreseeable choices. It was quite apparent that both students and staff experienced a wonderful time and left looking forward to future Science Expo gatherings.
Search for health care leading Texans to Mexico
The Dallas Morning News and its Spanish-language sister Al Dia TX both recently published a very interesting story about US patients seeking care in Mexican hospitals — not just for “medical tourism” but even for emergency care. The article mentions that a bill considered in the Texas Lege this year would have allowed US insurers to cover services inside Mexico for Texans living within 75 miles of the border. The bill didn’t make it out of committee, but it’s just another sign that legislators — like even the hospital administrators quoted in the article — see treatment in Mexico as one way to address rising healthcare and insurance costs and continued high numbers of uninsured Texans.
As we look to the future, will one of our upcoming health information challenges in South Texas be to help US patients understand and safely navigate their healthcare options in Mexico?
Secondhand smoke dangerous for children
On September 18, 2007, the Surgeon General reemphasized that secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and that US children are more heavily exposed to secondhand smoke than nonsmoking adults. The 2006 Surgeon General’s report noted that 60 percent of US children aged 3-11 years “nearly 22 million young people” are exposed to secondhand smoke. See the report excerpt at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/ChildrenAndSmoke/
Senate Bill 98 Creates UT Health Science Center South Texas
This week, Texas Governor Rick Perry and other state and local officials were at the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen to sign Texas Senate Bill 98 and officially begin the process of creating a new four-year medical school in the Rio Grande Valley.
Currently, the RAHC serves as a branch campus of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio and provides opportunities for 3rd and 4th year medical students to gain clinical experience in the US-Mexico border region. The bill calls for the RAHC to be converted into a independent campus called The University of Texas Health Science Center South Texas.
With the founding of a four-year medical school in the region, officials hope that an increase in the number of much-needed health care professionals in the area will soon follow. With the formal passage of SB 98, state officials will immediately begin the work of funding the project. An article in the September 2nd issue of the McAllen Monitor provides more information on this historic event.