Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes

Over 2.7 million Texans are diagnosed with diabetes and it is the sixth leading cause of death.  Hunt County has a diabetes prevalence value of 10.3%, meaning approximately 1 person out of every 10 residents are diagnosed with diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes is growing and expected to quadruple over the next thirty years.  

The two most common forms of diabetes as Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes, also known as Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), is an autoimmune condition where the pancreases produces very little, if any, insulin.  Relatively uncommon, roughly 5% of all diagnosed cases are Type 1.  Scientists agree, while an exact cause is unknown, genetics play a significant role. Type 2 diabetes, also known as Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), is a chronic condition effecting how the body uses insulin.  The cause of Type 2 is also unknown; however, excess weight and inactivity are factors (American Diabetes Association, 2017). Both forms of diabetes are serious and should be addressed with proper attention.  Diabetes education can help ease the strain of living with diabetes and although it is not curable, it is manageable.

Hunt County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is offering Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes, a five-part educational series to help people understand how to manage their disease through healthy eating patterns, physical activity, and following proper self-care.  On Friday, November 17th, we will tackle this program as a one day, short-course program beginning at 10:00 am and ending around 3:00 pm.  There will be a hands-on lunch where attendees learn to use alternative food options to help manage their carbohydrates.  Diabetics and care takers are welcome to attend.  Registration is $10.00 per person.  Topics covered in the program will address how food effects blood glucose, the proper method to test blood glucose, understanding medications, incorporating a healthy eating pattern, and much more.   For additional information or to register for the Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes short-course, please contact the Hunt County Extension office, (903) 455-9885 or email  

MAKING MEMORIES, the annual holiday program, is scheduled for Friday, November 3rd at the Ben E. Keith Community Room in Commerce from 9:30 am – 11:30 pm.  Holiday craft and gift ideas will be presented and you will receive a booklet including information on each item.  Tickets are available for purchase at the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, TX 75401. Tickets are $5.00 each and tickets are limited.  Registration fee includes morning refreshments and the holiday idea booklet.  If you are interested in paying over the phone using an electronic payment, please call (903) 455-9885.

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to come by the Hunt County AgriLife Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401, call (903) 455-9885, or email 

American Diabetes Association. (2017).

Monday, September 25, 2017


PECANS.  Being native to roughly 150 counties in Texas, the pecan tree is the state tree of Texas.  Popular for both landscaping and as a source of nuts, the pecan tree is a terrific addition to any area. Most of the pecan questions that come through our office deal with tree or nut issues; however, I wanted to take a moment to focus on their health benefits. Pecans are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which can help lower blood cholesterol when substituted for foods high in saturated fats.  In addition to good fats, pecans serve as an excellent source for many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.  To top it off, the USDA ranks pecans as the most antioxidant-rich tree nut. Antioxidants are known for their age defying characteristics.  Looking for a way to increase pecans in your diet?  Everyone knows pecans are great in pies and pralines, but they are also tasty to eat with yogurt, fruits, or on salads.  At the bottom of this post I have shared a few of my favorite recipes if you are looking to change up your pecan routine.

If you are interested in growing your own pecan trees (and not so much the nutritional benefits), Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offers a detailed publication filled with information and you may download a copy of this publication here.

PECAN ORDER INFORMATION. Speaking of pecans, it’s pecan order time!  All orders must be received by the Extension office by October 13th and orders will be available for pick up the week before Thanksgiving.  Halves and pieces are available in one, three, and five pounds.  For your convenience, we have multiple ways to order.  To order online visit  You may email your order to  Additionally, you may place your order by calling (903) 455-9885 or stopping by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, TX 75401. 

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to come by the Hunt County AgriLife Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401, call (903) 455-9885, or email  

Links to Pecan Recipes:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Why Waist Size Matters

Last week I discussed Body Mass Index (BMI).  Before I get into waist size, I would like to clarify something I mentioned regarding muscle vs. fat.  I wrote, “If you are an athlete or have a high muscle to fat ratio, your BMI will be higher than someone of a similar shape and size due to muscle weighing more than fat.”  There is not a weight difference in muscle and fat, one pound is one pound of either.  To clarify my statement, if you have two people of the same size but one is significantly more muscular, the person with more muscle will weigh more.

Now, understanding waist size and why it is important.  There are two common competing ideas on measuring the waist, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.  Research attempting to settle the debate of the more accurate has not successfully identified one over the other; in other words, as far as predicting health risks is concerned, both are adequate.  Waist circumference is easier to measure than waist-to-hip ratio, giving it an edge in popularity (and it is the one I will use for the remainder of this topic).  The American Heart Association defines abdominal obesity as having a waist circumference of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.  These numbers are somewhat higher than those recommended by the International Diabetes Federation (31.5 inches for women and 35.5 inches for men) (HSPH, 2017).  Your doctor can help you determine which recommendation is most suitable for your individual health needs.  
To measure your waist circumference, women should find the narrowest part of your midsection and men should measure even with your navel.  When measuring, make sure the tape measure is comfortable and not too loose or too snug.  

Now that you know the recommendations and how to obtain your measurement, you might be wondering why this information is important.  Research has identified a correlation between abdominal obesity (a waist size about the recommendation) and an increased risk of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (HSPH, 2017).  Therefore, health professionals use your waist circumference to determine your individual risk for developing certain diseases.  Abdominal fat surrounds many of your important internal organs; this fat is called visceral fat.  Simply put, visceral fat is a gel-like substance that wraps around organs and negatively impacts the way the body functions (Le, 2017).  

Decreasing your waist circumference is a major step towards a healthier lifestyle.  In addition to a healthy diet, try increasing your activity level (and heart rate) so you sweat for 30 to 60 minutes each day.  Speak with your health care professional before beginning any exercise program or changing your physical activity patterns. 

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to come by the Hunt County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401, call (903) 455-9885, or email  For additional information, please visit

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). (2017). Waist Size Matters.

Le, Trinh. (2017). The Most Dangerous Fat Is the Easiest to Lose. MyFitnessPal Blog.