April 30, 2004

Childhood Type 2 diabetes success story shared in lecture

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Jacek Hawiger, M.D., Ph.D

Childhood Type 2 diabetes success story shared in lecture

Trevino shared his experience with Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty, students and staff last week in a lecture sponsored by the School of Medicine Office for Diversity in Medical Education.

The Bienestar School-Based Diabetes Prevention Program, created by Trevino and based on the social cognitive theory, works with fourth- grade students in some of the poorest communities in San Antonio.

“We know that it’s not enough to change beliefs, we need to change the social environment to change behavior,” Trevino said.

The Bienestar Program is structured to create a network of social support to promote healthy behaviors, and focuses on lowering saturated fat intake, increasing fiber intake, increasing physical activity and controlling body weight. The program channels these messages through physical education classes, after-school programs, parent meetings and cafeteria workers.

At the end of the school year, all of the students in the Bienestar Program had brought their blood sugar levels down to an appropriate level.

“Children are able to change,” Trevino said. “They aren’t trying to break 40-year-old habits, they are more adaptable, and their bodies react more quickly.”

Trevino and his team are now looking to expand the program, starting at a younger age and running the program over a longer period of time.