- Texans spend approximately $239 billion annually on health care, or about $8,000 per capita. More than 75% of health care costs are due to chronic conditions.
- Higher diabetes incidence rates and increased costs are expected in the future due to the growing population of Hispanics/Latinos, who are at greater risk for the disease.
- Obesity prevalence among adults in Texas has risen sharply, from 12% in 1990 to 34% in 2018.
AgriLife Extension Response
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service delivers various educational programs focusing on health, wellness, and disease prevention for adults and youth, including diabetes education, nutrition and exercise, food safety, child safety seat education and early cancer detection.
The economic impact of eight AgriLife Extension health and wellness programs was measured in terms of lifetime health care cost savings, avoidance of lost wages, and nutrition-related food cost savings. These programs delivered 22,600 educational events in 2019, resulting in more than 2.2 million adult educational and other contacts, with economic benefits estimated at $79.8 million.
- Texas 4-H Youth Development Program reached 23,212 youth participants through health and safety education programs. Another 89,658 youth participated in nutrition and physical activity education programs.
- Diabetes education programs reached more than 53,000 educational and other contacts, teaching participants the skills to better manage their diabetes, and to effectively reduce the risk of developing diabetes . Lifetime economic benefits have been estimated at $16.7 million.
- Nutrition and food resource management programs reached more than 12,400 participants, with economic benefits estimated at $5.4 million.
- Physical activity programs attracted 12,527 participants, with lifetime economic benefits estimated at $48 million.
- Child safety seat programs save lives. The economic benefit of the proper use of child safety seats for the 2,077 participants is estimated at $3.1 million.
- The Healthy Texas program engaged more than 38,000 adults and youths in healthy lifestyle education programs, with lifetime economic benefits estimated at $15.1 million. AgriLife Extension and the Texas A&M Health Science Center are working to reduce the highest-impact diseases and their consequences throughout a 27-county region in South Texas. The goal is to focus on prevention by engaging families and communities, promoting healthy behaviors, encouraging preventive care and improving disease outcomes.