Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (left) congratulates Victoria Herrera (center front) in the Senate Chamber on Monday, May 9, for her determination and resolve to lose the weight necessary to overcome her obesity and pre-diabetic condition. Also pictured left to right next to Sen. Lucio are Victoria's brothers Jordan and Chris, her mother Marina and father Patrick Herrera.
Victoria Herrera honored in Senate Chamber
Inspires fellow Texans to improve health
AUSTIN, TX--The Texas Senate joined Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. yesterday in honoring seven-year-old Victoria Herrera, who through her own determination and support from her parents, lost 20 pounds within six months in an effort to overcome obesity and a pre-diabetic condition.
The second-grader from San Benito, when diagnosed as obese and pre-diabetic, began a diet and exercise regimen under her doctors' care that helped her drop the pounds. Her parents, Marina and Patrick Herrera, worked with her school, Dr. Cash Elementary, to develop a modified meal plan.
Sen. Lucio lauded her when presenting Victoria with Senate Resolution 824 as "a role model for other children and an inspiration to Texas citizens who are struggling to lead a healthier life now." He also praised the youngster for her dedication to teaching Texans about the advantages of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Obesity contributes to the rising occurrence of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer in our state. Texas taxpayers pay an estimated $10 billion every year in lost productivity and health care costs related to obesity.
Victoria participated in the First Annual Texas Round-Up--an initiative encouraging Texans to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives and to commit to a more active lifestyle--in Austin last year. Learning of her success, Gov. Rick Perry invited her back to help kick off this year's Texas Round-Up held April 30, and to serve as an inspiration to others battling obesity and diabetes.
News of Victoria's success has traveled fast. She has been featured in numerous television programs and in newspapers from the Rio Grande Valley to San Antonio. Her story even reached Florida, where she and her family were hosted by the Kellogg Company last week to share her story.
As author of Senate Bill 1239, legislation allowing the assessment of children at risk for having or developing Type 2 diabetes, and of Senate Bill 1379, a measure that comprehensively addresses health and nutrition in schools and communities, Sen. Lucio thanked his colleagues who voted for these measures and credited them for making "this state a healthier place to live for children like Victoria, her classmates and her family."
Victoria no longer requires medication, and she continues to eat well-balanced meals and to exercise regularly.