Confronting the Diabetes Disparity

Diabetes is a significant and growing public health concern nationwide, but is particularly prevalent among Hispanics living along the Texas-Mexico border, where the rate is nearly 50 percent higher than the national average. This border population experiences diabetes more frequently and more severely than the rest of the country and is less equipped to manage the disease.

This exploratory study seeks to identify key characteristics of diabetes prevention and management programs in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV). A survey administered to 84 community-based organizations in the LRGV yielded 25 responses. Nineteen programs related to diabetes and healthy lifestyle behaviors were identified in the LRGV.

Key Findings:

  • Most programs target low-income and minority populations; are offered at no cost; and include program evaluation activities.
  • The majority of the programs are based on guidelines of national and state professional associations and agencies.

These results indicate a number of community-based organizations in the LRGV are actively addressing the diabetes epidemic through programs based on national and state guidelines. Future research should examine effectiveness, as well as fidelity to guidelines of these diabetes programs. Limitations to this study include a low response rate (29.7%); use of multiple survey methods; and a convenience-sampling technique.