Journal Labels Portion of U.S. "Diabetes Belt"

With diabetes on the rise, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine has been able to identify an area of the United States as the "diabetes belt" -- the places where diabetes care is most needed.  Like it or not, that area includes Texoma.

"We see every day on an ongoing basis and it is an epidemic," said family physician Dr. Joel Trujillo.

To him it came as no surprise that Texas was named as one of 15 states where diabetes rates are highest.  He says one main social factor is obvious.

"Wichita County is famous for their cuisine and their buffets and all-you-can-eat and fast food restaurants," he said.

The Journal looked into sedentary lifestyle in the 644 counties of the "diabetes belt" and found it among 30% of people, as opposed to just 25% of people in the rest of the U.S.  Dr. Trujillo also thinks the number of elderly people in Wichita Falls gives a boost to diabetes numbers.

"I can't eat anything I like because it raises my blood sugar really high," said diabetes patient Lilly Flores.

As far as preventative measures go, Dr. Trujillo says nothing is really available in Texoma.

"Everyone's trying to do something.  It's not working.  We need more and more effort on this," he said.

Despite anti-obesity campaigns, and encouragement for proper diets, Trujillo still sees 2-4 diabetes patients a day.

"There's something about Wichita County that promotes this aspect," he said.