South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Project

The South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Project is a community based research program that addresses the increased prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the Laredo community, identifying the risk factors in the population and designing intervention programs. The goal is to improve the health of today’s families working toward healthier future generations.

In 2001, the research started at the Brownsville Regional Campus of the University of Texas, School of Public Health under the direction of Dr. Joseph B. McCormick, MD, MS. In the first 10 years, a cohort of near 3000 citizens was collected. The information gathered has provided significant information about the prevalence of the diabetes and obesity epidemic in this South Texas Region. In addition, it has been the basis for the origination of over 10 million dollars in research funds.

We continue to work as an extension with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health in Brownsville.

The Process

Clinical research staff will conduct personal visits to randomly selected households in the community. Participants will be assessed at the Clinical Research Unit located at the UT Health Science Center Laredo Campus. They will be interviewed to obtain a medical history including family history and data will be collected on behavioral, cultural, environmental and biological potential risk factors. This data collection will lead to the establishment of the community prevalence of diabetes and obesity and the identification of the major risk factors.

The participant will receive a medical examination consisting of:

  • Anthropometrics-body measurement, height and weight
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
  • Blood tests-CMP, Glucose, Cholesterol, Triglycerides and Complete Blood Count
  • DXA-Bone Density Scan
  • Retinal Scan
  • Liver Ultra Sound

The collected information will be analyzed by the epidemiology faculty. Findings will be presented to the community at large through the community advisory board. Together, along with community resources, a plan will be developed to address the obstacles or risk factors in areas such as, nutrition, physical activity, and other health issues that are identified.

Educational Opportunities

The South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Project will also provide educational opportunities to high school, college level, and graduate students. Faculty Epidemiologists will be available to mentor high school/college students, providing a hands-on research experience through summer programs. Additional research opportunities will be available for graduate students.

To learn more about the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Project, please call (956) 523-7533.

Updated: Feb 12, 2019
Copyright © 2019
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio