Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., District 27

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 27, 2001
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127

Sen. Lucio passes measure creating advisory committee
on pediatric diabetes

AUSTIN, TX-On Monday, March 26, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed Senate Bill 1456 by state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, that establishes a Pediatric Diabetes Research Advisory Committee to analyze the impact of diabetes in the state.

"After being informed that one out of 300 school aged children in this country has diagnosed diabetes, I decided to file legislation that would create this advisory committee" said Sen. Lucio. "Representatives from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Texas Diabetes Council met with me to request funding for research. However, it was too late in session to file an appropriations request, so I instead filed a bill which will lead to research funding recommendations for next session."

The committee, which will be housed in the Texas Department of Health, will assess and inventory resources, determine the most promising avenues of research, and maximize available scientific and financial assets to conduct its research. Professionals in the field of diabetes will comprise the committee, which must present its findings to the Legislature and the governor by Dec. 1, 2002 .

"I support this legislative effort to advance research to improve treatment of diabetes and ultimately to find a cure, " said state Sen. Mike Moncrief, D-Fort Worth. I look forward to the day when children will no longer have to stick themselves with needles several times a day to keep their blood sugar under control."

Type 1 diabetes is increasing 3 to 5 percent per year and Type 2 in children has tripled between 1993 and 1998. Type 1 (known as juvenile diabetes) is insulin-dependent diabetes and also afflicts adults. Type 2 is the most common form of the disease, and its patients do not require insulin.

The Texas Diabetes Council's January 2001 study, "Diabetes in Childhood and Adolescence," reports that diabetes in children is one of the costliest and most devastating chronic childhood conditions. In 1997, there were 700,676 adults (5.1 percent of the adult population) in Texas with diagnosed diabetes. An additional 5,104,725 children and adults in Texas were determined at increased risk for undiagnosed diabetes because of the risk factors of age, obesity and sedentary lifestyles. In 1997, the disease contributed to the death of 13,061 Texas residents.

"I have had countless people call, write and come to see me personally to let me know how they and their loved ones have been affected by this terrible disease," added Sen. Lucio. "With the rate of diabetes among young children increasing at alarming rates--many new cases are being diagnosed before a child reaches age five--I felt compelled to do something this session.

"Although Texas is well equipped to conduct research, these efforts are too often stifled by lack of funds and inadequate coordination. SB 1456 is a first step toward correcting these inefficiencies," explained Sen. Lucio.

"Diabetes research efforts need to be encouraged, supported, coordinated and fully funded if we are to find a cure," explained Sen. Lucio. "This will be made possible through the advisory committee, based largely on the congressionally established working group on diabetes emphasizing research strategies. Ours is specific to children."

Another bill by Sen. Lucio, Senate Bill 885, could help reduce diabetes rates, with provisions that promote incorporating healthy habits into the schools through a community-based, public health approach. The goal of the legislation is to change attitudes in society toward nutrition, exercise and other habits.

SB 1456 will now be taken up by the full Senate. SB 885 has been referred to the Education Committee.

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Note: Staff member handling SB 1456 is Ms. Bridget Sharphorn, legislative aide.

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