Combating pediatric diabetes and obesity in South Texas
High pediatric diabetes rates near the Texas-Mexico border have lead Genny Carrillo, MD, ScD, associate professor at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, to begin work on a holistic diabetes and obesity education program for children and their families in the area she has called home for many years. She was recently awarded a 3-year grant, $370,666 grant from the Knapp Community Care Foundation to expand her work in South Texas.
“In my research over the past 12 years targeting asthma and gestational diabetes in Hispanic communities, I have learned the most effective approach to implementing public health interventions is to involve the whole family,” Carrillo said.
She now hopes to use this same approach in combating pediatric diabetes and obesity. Xiaohui Xu, PhD, associate professor at the School of Public Health, will work with Carrillo in conducting focus groups with parents and their children diagnosed with diabetes or obesity or who are overweight to gather information about their knowledge of the disease, self-management, medication/nutrition, physical activity and their quality of life. The researchers will study the specific challenges these children and their families face on a daily basis both at school and at home.
Research obtained from these focus groups will inform which educational approaches that will be most culturally appropriate for this population.
“This holistic project will provide families and the communities where they live with increased knowledge of diabetes and obesity and how to improve self-management of these conditions,” Carrillo said. “Special emphasis in education on self-monitoring blood glucose, medication adherence, improvement of healthy eating habits, and daily physical activity is essential and should involve all family members.”