Healthy Texas, a joint effort by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Texas A&M Health Science Center, is being introduced in six East Texas counties: Angelina, Trinity, Houston, Nacogdoches, Shelby and San Augustine.
The expansion follows in the wake of the success of a 27-county pilot project called Healthy South Texas, which is ongoing.
Chancellor John Sharp and State Rep. Trent Ashby of Lukin kicked-off Healthy Texas in front of an enthusiastic crowd of third- and fifth-graders at W.H. Bonner Elementary School near Lufkin. See the video here
Healthy Texas encourages lifestyle changes, including good nutrition and exercise, to reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes, strokes and heart disease.
“The Healthy Texas initiative is changing lives,” Chancellor Sharp said. “It’s changing individual children’s behavior when it comes to nutrition and exercise, and we’re seeing that these students are taking the lessons they’ve learned home to their family. So, when we think about the human and financials costs of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, those positive changes will be immense for Texas’ future.”
Rep. Ashby, a supporter of Healthy South Texas, encouraged Texas A&M to expand the program into East Texas which has similar chronic health issues as South Texas. He said 14 percent of the adult population has been diagnosed with diabetes and the actual number is higher because of diabetics who haven’t been diagnosed.
“For us to have a bright future in Texas we need well-educated people and healthy people in our state,” said Rep. Ashby. “It’s about making healthy choices.”
Chancellor Sharp has said he would like for Healthy Texas to be a statewide program eventually, helping Texans live longer, healthier lives while slowing down the escalating healthcare costs borne by taxpayers.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.55 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 148,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Laylan Copelin
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