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Free Community Events To Provide Life-Saving Health Screenings and Education to Residents at Risk for Heart Disease, Diabetes and Other Chronic Diseases

Dallas, Texas, January 27, 2011
By: Rand Walton

Heart Disease Claims Nearly One in Four Texans’ Lives; Nearly One in Ten Adults in North Texas Has Diabetes

Today, Project HOPE, the international health education and humanitarian assistance organization, joined with the Living Heart Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing cardiac health screenings and education, to launch “Habits for Life,” a community health program to combat chronic disease in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The program, which is also supported by UnitedHealthcare, will offer free screenings to identify the signs of chronic disease, such as heart disease and diabetes, over the next two weeks. It will also educate residents on how to manage their health more effectively and make smarter lifestyle and nutrition choices.

According to recent reports, chronic disease has a debilitating and deadly effect on thousands of Texans each year. In 2009 the CDC found that nearly one out of every four deaths in Texas is due to heart disease. Additionally, a 2009 report from the Texas Department of State Health Services estimates that 1.7 million Texas adults (9.7 percent of the adult population) have diabetes, and another estimated 425,157 cases are believed to be undiagnosed.

Further, chronic disease in Texas has a disparate impact on Latino and African-American communities. According to the UnitedHealthcare’s 2010 America’s Health Rankings®, 13.5 percent of non-Hispanic blacks and 11.0 percent of Hispanics in Texas have diabetes compared to 8.2 percent of non-Hispanic whites. The same report revealed that 34 percent of Hispanics and 37.6 percent of non-Hispanic blacks in Texas are obese, compared to 25.8 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth area have been particularly hard-hit by chronic disease. A 2008 CDC report found that nearly one in ten (9.8 percent) adults in Dallas County has diabetes. CDC data from that same year found that 28 percent of Dallas County adults are obese, which puts them at greater risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In the Fort Worth area, 8.7 percent of residents have diabetes, and that percentage rises to 14.2 when applied to the African-American population.

“While the rates of chronic disease in Dallas-Forth Worth are alarming, these illnesses are preventable,” said John P. Howe, III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE. “One of Project HOPE’s strengths is our experience addressing chronic disease at the local level in communities around the world. ‘Habits for Life’ will allow us to bring this expertise home to offer life-saving screenings and education that will help Dallas-Fort Worth residents identify the warning signs and manage their health more effectively.”

“Giving people the knowledge, personalized testing and other tools they need to prevent and manage chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and others is what this community outreach effort is all about,” said Arthur J. Roberts, M.D., Founder and Director of Living Heart Foundation. “This partnership between Living Heart, Project HOPE, UnitedHealthcare and local health providers is a powerful partnership for good and will make a difference in the lives and health of thousands of Texans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”

The partners will gather at a reception today for “Habits for Life” at the Cooper Institute. In addition to remarks from Dr. Howe, Roger Staubach, Chairman, North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee will address the audience. The reception will also feature tours of Project HOPE’s state-of-the-art mobile health unit, funded by UnitedHealthcare, that will be a primary source for screenings and education at the community events.

The calendar of events and screening activities is as follows:

  • January 29, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. - Cliff Temple Baptist Church, 2020 Wheatland Rd, Dallas.
  • February 1-2, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. - Catholic Charities, 249 W. Thornhill Dr, Ft Worth.
  • February 4, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. - Friendship West Baptist Church, 125 Sunset, Dallas.

The health screenings build upon the success of a partnership between UnitedHealthcare and Project HOPE in New Mexico where the two organizations are working together to expand access to diabetes care for underserved populations.

“When it comes to winning the battle against chronic disease, you can’t fight what you don’t know, which is why health screenings and education are so important.” said Dr. Keith Hallock, Senior Medical Director, UnitedHealthcare “Community-based programs like ‘Habits for Life’ can help Dallas-Fort Worth residents know their health numbers, address the signs of chronic disease, and take better control of their health.”

Project HOPE, the Living Heart Foundation and UnitedHealthcare are joined by partners Texas Health Resources and Vision Quest. In-kind donations from Johnson & Johnson, BD, 3M and Labsco also contributed to the project.

Project HOPE
1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, as well as conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries.

Media Contact

Rand Walton

Project HOPE

Director, Strategic Communications

(540) 630-1017

rwalton@projecthope.org

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