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The Texas Diabetes Institute project funded the South Texas Health Research Center at The University of Texas Health Science Center to apply its A Su Salud En Acción (To Your Health In Action) health promotion model to diabetes. The study’s objective was to conduct a community education demonstration project in a Hispanic community to: learn about the community’s knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding diabetes; develop an educational community intervention based on the A Su Salud En Acción model; enhance the community’s knowledge, attitudes, and protective behaviors about diabetes; and promote screening for diabetes.
The West Side of San Antonio, Texas
Preliminary results from the baseline telephone survey showed that far too few non-diabetic respondents in this high-risk population could define diabetes, its cause, or its symptoms. Respondents also were less knowledgeable than expect about risk factors attributing to this devastating disease. Those who were diabetic were somewhat more knowledgeable about symptoms, but they had a poor understanding of what causes diabetes, the complications associated with the disease, and what measures can be taken to control their diabetes. Preliminary data from the reported screening outcomes showed a positive impact of A Su Salud En Acción intervention efforts. From 1994 to 1995, the largest source of new screening referrals (65% or 575 first-time screening referrals) for the Texas Diabetes Institute was attributed to the efforts. The American Diabetes Association accounted for 2% and other sources accounted for 33%. During that time, the A Su Salud En Acción program placed 73 stories about diabetes in San Antonio’s mass media outlets (18 television stories, 42 newspaper articles, and 13 radio segments). Analysis performed on a sample of media presentations revealed that social support (in the form of free or low-cost screening), perceptions of incentives, consequences of diabetes-related behavior, and perceptions of risk were the major focal points of the media campaign. During the course of the intervention, 610 community networkers were recruited and trained to distribute newsletters to community organizations, retail sites, businesses and churches. Diabetes risk reduction behaviors were emphasized in 34 newsletters produced in 1994 and 1995 (400,000 copies) and of a booklet that was distributed to 10,000 people. About 55,000 additional copies were requested. The evaluation of A Su Salud En Acción’s strategies and outcomes revealed several implementation components that proved either more or less effective than others. Lessons learned through this study included the following:
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