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Campus prepares for World Diabetes Day, disease rampant in EP

Claudia+Boyd+in+a+classroom+at+the+Liberal+Arts+building.
Michaela Roman / The Prospector
Claudia Boyd in a classroom at the Liberal Arts building.

Claudia Boyd is always on the move as a full-time communication graduate student, teaching assistant, mother and wife. You would never guess that she is one of 21 million Americans who suffer from diabetes.

According to diabetes.org, each day approximately 4,110 people are diagnosed with diabetes, which means that every 21 seconds someone is diagnosed with this incurable disease.

“If you sat me in a room and in front of my students, nobody would know,” Boyd said. “We are all the same. It is one of those silent diseases. Although you don’t know who we are, it could be the person next to you, it could be someone at home. So I would urge the UTEP community, especially the students that are young, to take care of their health and get tested. I would say also get involved in the community.”

Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day and the UTEP community is gearing up to help spread awareness about this disease that plagues many in El Paso.

Members of the Eta Sigma Gamma National Health Education Honor Society will provide facts and information on healthy eating and healthy food choices that can help prevent the disease from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 14 at Leech Grove.

Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Maria Duarte, is on the Texas Diabetes Council and also specializes in nutrition, women’s and border health.

“This is an opportunity to reflect on the burden of this chronic disease, its cost and complications of uncontrolled diabetes,” she said. “People with diagnosed diabetes have health care costs 2.3 times higher than for people without the disease.”

Hispanics have a genetic predisposition to develop insulin resistance and abdominal obesity, Duarte said. This predisposition and multiple nutritional, lifestlye and cultural factors influence the development of type 2 diabetes among Hispanics.

U.S. Census data shows that El Paso has an estimated 82.2 percent Hispanic population, making the disease common to this region.

“Studies indicate that it is possible to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes by adopting healthy eating habits, engaging in physical activity and losing weight,” Duarte said.

Boyd, who is dedicating her research to diabetes awareness, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when she was 37 years old. Now at age 40, she said that she is proactive and is eager to spread awareness about this disease to her community. She said diabetes awareness and funding for outreach programs is lacking in El Paso.

“It is through education that one can help build a healthy community, and to that end, I am doing what I can to make a difference in my community,” she said. “I was sad to learn that diabetics in our community are led by Hispanics—which I am—and further that many are not making the lifestyle changes necessary to combat the disease effectively.”

For more information on World Diabetes Day, visit idf.org/worlddiabetesday.

Amanda Guillen may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Amanda Guillen, Editor-in-Chief
Amanda Guillen is a senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in women's studies. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and graduated from El Paso High School in 2011. She has been a part of The Prospector since summer 2013 and is currently Managing Editor. She has always had a passion for journalism and plans to become a television news reporter upon graduating from UTEP. In addition to being a full-time student and reporter, she is a part of two honor societies on campus, Alpha Lambda Delta and the National Society of Leadership and Success where she participates in community service regularly. Amanda also interns for KVIA Channel 7 the El Paso affiliate of ABC. Her love for the city of El Paso is something that led her to choose UTEP as her school of choice. She has enjoyed her past 3 years at the university and looks forward to an eventful school year.
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Campus prepares for World Diabetes Day, disease rampant in EP