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Texas roads have have lacked fatality free day Since Nov. 7, 2000

Brownwood Bulletin
Courtney Parrott

It has been 20 years since Texas could claim a day where there were no fatalities on our roads. This November 7, Texas marks 20 years of daily deaths on our roadways with more than 70,000 people killed since 2000. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) every day in Texas nearly 10 people are killed in traffic crashes with the leading causes of these deadly crashes continuing to be failure to stay in one lane, alcohol, speed and distracted driving. TxDOT is promoting the “End the Streak” campaign to help end motor vehicle fatalities in Texas. The road to ending the streak is not impossible. In Texas there were 23 counites with zero fatalities in 2019.

The pandemic has taught us all about the importance of shared responsibility. Ending this streak of needless tragedy on Texas roadways is also a shared responsibility. While it is considered socially unacceptable to drink and drive and most people would think twice about drinking and driving or riding with a drunk driver, riding with a driver who is speeding, not buckled up, using their phone while driving or driving in any reckless manner has not reached the threshold of being socially unacceptable yet. Drivers and passengers can change that by taking responsibility for each other’s safe driving.

What if for one day everyone took responsibility for themselves and their friends and there were no drunk drivers on our roads? And there was not one person driving somewhere to drink without a plan for a sober ride home — and no underage drunk drivers were to be found anywhere.

What if everyone made sure that the driver and all passengers in the vehicle were buckled up? And, that all children were riding in the correct car seat for their age, weight and height and the seat was installed correctly.

What if everyone took responsibility to make sure that no driver was speeding down the road, but was instead driving within the speed limit, including slowing down for construction and emergency vehicles, and driving more slowly and cautiously during bad weather conditions?

What if everyone made sure that they did not drive distracted or ride with anyone who was driving distracted? And, that no teens were riding with other teens, which is the main source of their distractions and against the law according to the Graduated Driver License Law. What if no youth or adult was driving while using a cell phone and totally concentrating on their driving?

What if everyone took the responsibility to make sure that they were not driving drowsy and passengers made sure that their driver was rested and alert? What if there were no drowsy drivers on the road and every driver, including commercial drivers, made sure they were well rested and prepared for the trip?

What if everyone took responsibility to drive defensively and civilly and passengers made sure they would only ride with a driver who treated the lives of others on the road with respect?

What if everyone took on these responsibilities and Texas could once again enjoy a day where there was not one fatality on our roads? Then, we could put an end to this terrible streak of roadway deaths in Texas — and it would bear repeating!

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Community Health Educator Courtney Parrott, Brown County reminds us that these do not have to be just rhetorical questions. For information on the End the Streak campaign visit: http://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/media-center/psas/end-streak.html

National Diabetes Month time to learn more about diabetes

Texas A&M AgriLife provides diabetes education, management information and instruction For years, Texas A&M AgriLife and its partners in the Texas A&M University System have been offering diabetes education and solutions for preventing or managing this condition.

November is National Diabetes Month. “National Diabetes Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of this disease and its risk factors, as well as promote healthful living behaviors that can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes,” said Danielle Krueger, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist and registered dietitian, Bryan-College Station.

Krueger said diabetes is a pervasive and costly disease that, while not curable, is manageable.

“Knowing whether or not you are at risk for diabetes or have prediabetes, nutritional and lifestyle changes can help you avoid developing Type 2 diabetes,” Krueger said.

Some symptoms of prediabetes include increased thirst, more frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision and increased body weight, especially around the waist.

Diabetes a growing concern for Texas, U.S. According to the American Diabetes Association, one in 10 Americans has diabetes and another 84 million are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The national cost of diabetes is estimated to be about $245 billion.

In Texas, an estimated 2.84 million people — about 14% of the state’s population — have diabetes. Among these, about one-fourth are undiagnosed, which greatly increases their health risks. Another 6.8 million Texans have prediabetes, with blood glucose levels above the normal range but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as

diabetes. The annual cost of diabetes and prediabetes to the state is estimated at $23.7 billion.

Texas A&M AgriLife initiatives, programs to help address diabetes

“Making Texans and others aware of diabetes and what can be done to avoid or manage it is an important aspect of community health education,” said Rusty Hohlt, director of Healthy Texas for AgriLife Extension.

Making good food choices and developing healthful eating habits are important in the fight against diabetes.

Hohlt said Healthy Texas combines the expertise of the Texas A&M Health Science Center with AgriLife Extension’s statewide network of agents, specialists and others to provide educational outreach on various health topics.

AgriLife Extension offers several other opportunities for people to learn the skills to more effectively manage the disease — or reduce the risk of developing it by means of better nutrition, exercise and blood-glucose monitoring. These include: · Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes is a one-time fee, self-paced course, which dives deeper into understanding diabetes, how food affects blood glucose, how to make healthful choices, the basics of medicine, and incorporating foods into a healthy eating pattern and more. · Cooking Well with Diabetes engages the community with hands-on food preparation to reinforce the practical nutritional applications of the self-care lesson series Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes.

“Nutrition and the food choices we make are important for diabetes management,” said David Leal, AgriLife Extension program specialist with Healthy Texas, Beeville. “Each meal we eat is an opportunity to at least partially manage glucose and reduce risk of complications like heart disease. And even relatively small amounts of weight loss, from 3-7% of total body weight, can lead to clinically significant reductions in blood sugar levels.” · Diabetes 1st Step: Live Healthy, Be Hopeful is a free online, self-paced course on the basics of diabetes self-management. This course has been developed for those newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or wanting to learn more about diabetes self-care. · Sí, Yo Puedo Controlar Mí Diabetes! provides culturally relevant Type 2 diabetes self-management education for Hispanics/Latinos. The program seeks to educate, empower and equip participants to better control their diabetes through a real-world, practical approach. The program is also available in English. · Wisdom, Power, Control provides evidence-based, culturally relevant Type 2 diabetes self-management education relevant to African Americans. Topics include diabetes self-care skills, improving eating habits and maintaining good nutrition, increasing physical activity, preventing diabetes complications, and improving quality of life while living with Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes education-related programs are offered periodically by AgriLife Extension offices throughout the state. To see if any are being offered in a specific county, contact the agency office in that county.

“With the COVID-19 situation, many of these programs have gone from in-person to virtual offerings,” Krueger said. “A number of our agents are currently conducting their scheduled programs via online platform, providing another opportunity for people to participate.”

Krueger also noted Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes, Cooking Well with Diabetes, and Diabetes 1st Step courses are also available online at any time so people may participate at their own pace whenever it is convenient for them. These courses and their costs can be found in the Family and Health section of the AgriLife Online Courses website. On another front in the fight against diabetes, Texas A&M AgriLife Research food and nutrition researchers are studying the mechanism of the disease to determine how to decrease insulin resistance and the production of glucose – factors leading to the development of Type 2 diabetes. For additional help, she said the American Diabetes Association has a Diabetes Support Directory online tool to help connect individuals with a qualified, ADA-approved diabetes support program in their area.

“Texas A&M AgriLife has a number of resources to help increase diabetes awareness as well as show those with diabetes or family members how they can have a better quality of life by making some basic lifestyle improvements,” Krueger said. “We hope Texans and others throughout the U.S. will use National Diabetes Month as a starting point for learning more about diabetes and how to manage it, especially if they have a family history of diabetes or think they might have prediabetes.”