For immediate release: May 21, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - The Center for Population Health and Health Disparities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has released its first Community Health Report for Texas City. Among the findings, 41 percent of participating residents reported having no health insurance, while only 28 percent believed themselves to be in "excellent or very good health."

"We found substantial levels of health problems among the residents and these problems were exacerbated by lack of health insurance," said Dr. Norma Perez, research scientist for the Texas City study.

Of the participating residents, 20 percent reported having been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician. The largest prevalence of the disease was found in blacks (23 percent). Among those with diabetes, 31 percent of blacks showed uncontrolled blood sugar levels - more than any other ethnic group. For diabetic participants as a whole, 17 percent tested with poor control of their diabetes.

Approximately 20 percent of participants had high cholesterol and 42 percent had high blood pressure. Some 52 percent of blacks reported having been diagnosed with high blood pressure - more than any other ethnic group. At 49 percent, Hispanics were the largest ethnic group to report being uninsured, followed by blacks at 39 percent and whites at 29 percent.

The CPHHD investigators interviewed nearly 3,000 community residents at random to find out how they perceived their own health. They collected blood samples for cholesterol and glucose and measured blood pressure to determine the accuracy of the residents' perceptions. The investigators conducted in-home interviews and analyzed blood samples.

The CPHHD plans follow-up interviews beginning this summer and continuing through April 2008. The goal of CPHHD is to provide an understanding of the mechanisms responsible for lower cancer incidence, lower prevalence of other diseases and lower mortality among targeted populations through collaborative research programs.

The information for this report came from data collected from June 2004 through June 2006. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Dr. James S. Goodwin, director of UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging, was the principal investigator.

To request a copy of the Community Health Report for Texas City contact Dr. Norma Perez at (409) 747-3556 or
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Public Affairs Office
301 University Boulevard, Suite 3.102
Galveston, Texas 77555-0144