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"Small Steps, Big Rewards"

New U.S. diabetes education campaign aims for prevention of disease

San Antonio (Dec. 18, 2002) — Patient education materials developed at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) will play a key role in the federal government's new drive to help millions prevent diabetes.

The multiyear Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which ended in 2001 and utilized expertise of dozens of study sites including the Health Science Center, offered conclusive evidence that diabetes can be prevented through modest lifestyle changes such as healthier diets and physical activity. More than 200 public and private partners, including UTHSCSA, now will participate in the "Small Steps, Big Rewards" campaign announced last month by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.

Maria G. Montez, RN, MSHP, a Certified Diabetes Educator and diabetes program director at the Health Science Center, has worked closely with the National Diabetes Education Program to develop culturally sensitive diabetes prevention materials to translate the DPP findings into clinical practice. Steven M. Haffner, M.D., professor of medicine in the division of clinical epidemiology, served as the principal investigator on the San Antonio DPP study.

Additional studies are ongoing for persons at least 55 years of age who are at risk for developing diabetes. Interested persons may call Montez at (210) 567-4799 to ask about eligibility for a free diabetes prevention study. Information on Small Steps or diabetes diagnosis is available at 1-800-438-5383.

Contact: Maria G. Montez, project coordinator, (210) 567-4799, or Will Sansom, (210) 567-2570