Feria de Salud 2011 – Success!

The Houston American Diabetes Association’s 9th Feria de Salud was held on Saturday, April 12, 2011 at Mason Park in southeast Houston. This was the fourth year for the event to be held at this City of Houston Park, located at 541 S. 75th Street. The hours were from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. The day was overcast, though not hot.

Out of an estimated crowd of 3,000, nearly 200 surveys were completed with the following results from those who responded.

  • 75% who attended were female
  • People between the ages of 25-44 accounted for  46.2% of attendees, 45-64 years of age accounted for 41%
  • 95 % identified themselves as Hispanic/Latino
  • 71 % had less than a 10th grade education with 32 % having less than a sixth grade education
  • 60 % had no primary care physician
  • 50 % responded they did not have diabetes
  • 27 % said they did not know
  • 17 % responded that they did have diabetes

Inside the community center/ screening area, Laura Clay, RN, BSN and the CHRISTUS Community Health Ministries team supervised the glucose and blood pressure screenings. Prevent Blindness Texas screened for vision problems. Podiatrist Dr. Lorraine McKinney performed foot screenings, and, new this year, the University of Houston Texas Center for Obesity Research provided BMI (body mass index) screenings for participants.

Volunteer registered nurses from several local hospitals and agencies worked with the student screeners and spoke with those attendees who had questions. Feria medical director Jorge Luengas, M.D., Charles Garcia, M.D. and   and Dr.       were on hand to  help counsel those with abnormal screening results. Volunteers from the Shell Employees Hispanic Network kept the screening lines flowing smoothly.

The Harris County Hospital District Trouble Shooters worked in the smaller screening building, providing free immunizations for children and free flu vaccine for adults..

Assisting with various screenings were more than 50 students from the University of Texas School of Nursing, Harris County Community College Coleman College, Houston Community College EMT School, Texas Southern University School of Pharmacy and the University of Houston School of Pharmacy.

All non-screening sponsors, not-for-profit organizations and clinics were under tents on the lawn in the area in front of the stage.

The children’s area was expanded this year under the direction of the City of Houston WIC (Women, Infant, Children) Program. Certified diabetes educators and nutritionists weighed children, did a height/weight ratio and talked with them and their parents about healthy food options. The community events teams from the Houston Dynamo Soccer team entertained the children, as did face-painters and piñata games.

Feria sponsor Amerigroup hosted the “Women’s Education” tent, where certified diabetes educators and nutritionists held two education classes and spoke about the dangers of diabetes and how to make better food choices for themselves and their families healthy food choices. ADA nutrition material and guides were given to participants in choice of English or Spanish materials. Everyone who attended a class could register for 2 of 50 Houston Astros tickets to be given away.

Two “Diabetes 101” education seminars were held in the tent sponsored by Bravo Health. Those who attended either of the two seminars were eligible to also received Astros tickets and received the 32 page color “What Can I Eat” guide in English or Spanish.

Six local FQHC (federally qualified health clinics) were on hand to provide medical services options to those who are uninsured or underinsured. The Harris County Hospital District provided information on Gold Card access.

Local talent sponsored by Zona Festival! kept the entertainment on the stage moving. Attendees enjoyed flamenco, salsa and hip hop performers. Also on hand, mariachis who strolled the crowd of this fun, family fiesta. Additional volunteer groups included Girl Scout Troop 8726, members of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority and members of the Houston Urban League.

Diabetes is an urgent health problem in the Latino community.  Their rates of diabetes are almost double those of non-Latino whites. Feria de Salud is the major component of the Houston ADA’s Hispanic outreach efforts called Por tu Familia (For your Family)

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