Preventing diabetes: Targeting high-risk children living in poverty
Director, Social and Health Research Center, Bienestar/NEEMA school health programs
Roberto P. Treviño, M.D. founded the South Alamo Medical Group in 1986 for the practice of primary care medicine in poor and underserved areas. The medical practice has grown to five clinics and 20 physicians. Dissatisfied with medical outcomes, however, he founded the Social and Health Research Center (SHRC) in 1995 to design and evaluate early age obesity and type 2 diabetes school health prevention programs.
Dr. Treviño is the principal investigator of the two largest trials funded by the National Institutes of Health to prevent obesity and diabetes in children. Although these health programs have been shown to decrease blood glucose and obesity rates in children, Trevino presents in his new book — Forgotten Children — 10 years of evidence showing that politicians influenced by special interest groups applied policies to deny at-risk children these programs.
“Diabetes is a $174 billion-a-year industry,” Trevino says.
Dr. Treviño grew up in San Antonio’s Victoria Courts housing project in the 1960s at a time when most of San Antonio was to the Northside suburbs. One day his father announced that the family was moving out of the projects. “We were excited, believing that we, too, were moving out to the suburbs,” Dr. Treviño says. “He got us in a truck and drove across the street from Victoria courts to our new house on Lavaca St. Across the street was as far as we ever moved away from the projects. My mom and dad still live in that house.”