AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension reports that Poor eating habits are contributing factors to the health of residents in the Texas Panhandle.
“We’re trying to help consumers better understand where their food comes from and how their food impacts their health,” said Dan Hale, associate director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
The goal is to educate rural residents on the accessibility they have to fresh foods as opposed to processed foods.
“Understanding the food system and understanding what goes into producing a meal, I think, helps people make better-informed decisions about what they choose to put on their plate at the end of the day,” said Jeff Hyde, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
AgriLife says at least seven percent of residents in every county of the high plains are diagnosed with diabetes and that some counties have higher death rates due to cardiovascular disease compared to other parts of the state.
“A lot of chronic diseases can be prevented through lifestyle factors. Including nutrition, physical activity, not smoking, is also a big piece. So we’re trying just to give skills and education related to lifestyle factors, in general, to help prevent disease. Of course, having medical providers is important. Still, our goal is trying to prevent disease before it happens,” said Miquela Smith, extension program specialist for health of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Eating right is only a part of a healthy lifestyle. AgriLife is also focusing on the mental side of things.
“Local ‚rural framers and ranchers who are living rurally in these rural communities, we’re seeing a rise of suicide rates with those people. So there is a need It might not be identified in the community, and people might not be suffering, or people are probably suffering, and they don’t realize that there is help, there is treatment, and there is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Wendy Hazzard, county extension agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
AgriLife has extension agents in nearly every county of the panhandle to help educate residents on healthy choices.
The link to find your agent and healthy recipes can be found here.