Health Trends in Travis County

By Doris Vallejo-Aguilar, UT-Austin Spring Intern

Why is it important to know about the health diseases where you live? If you can prevent any health issues, you need to know what is going on around you.

In Travis County, the number one cause of death is cancer. Heart disease is the second major cause of death in Travis County. Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States too? People may get these diseases because they do not exercise or have poor nutrition.

What can you do to stay healthy? Find the time to exercise on a daily basis. If not, exercise every other day or most days of the week. You can also make healthier food choices. This does not mean you have to be on a diet! Making healthier food choices keeps you healthy and active. To learn how to stay healthy and what foods are better for you visit www.choosemyplate.gov

Image source: Flickr (USDA, CC BY 2.0)

Ethnicity plays part in the increased chances of getting diseases. How and why ethnicity plays a role is still unclear to many. So, we are going to explore the disease trends among the Hispanic and African American populations in Travis County.

The number one cause of death for Hispanics, in Travis County, is cancer and heart disease. Hispanics also have high rates of overweight and obesity. Thought not a disease, Hispanics have the highest percent of teenage mothers. Hispanics have the highest rate of tuberculosis cases in Travis County and Texas too. What is tuberculosis? Tuberculosis is an infection in the lungs.

African Americans are more likely to have HIV than any other ethnic or racial group. Cancer and heart disease are tied as the number one causes of death for African Americans. African Americans in Travis County have the highest rate of diabetes. Diabetes occurs when you have high levels of sugar in your blood. African Americans also happen to have a high rate of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases are related to your heart. Like Hispanics, African Americans have high rates of overweight and obesity.

Why are these diseases or patterns more common among Hispanics and African Americans? When it comes to the teen pregnancies, they might lack access to birth control. When it comes to overweight and obesity, Hispanics and African Americans may not be eating healthy foods. Something else to consider is Hispanics and African Americans are more likely to find themselves in poverty and may be less educated. The lack of access and education may lead to unhealthy eating patterns and behaviors.

Let us educate people about diseases, how they can be prevented and what we can do to help!

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