LETTERS: Healthy living improves lives; Be rational about immigration

Healthy living improves lives

Your editorial printed March 3 was right on target, pointing out the importance of developing healthy lifestyles in our region.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions, especially in the Rio Grande Valley, and is a major risk factor for developing pre-diabetes and diabetes. A worldwide explosion of low-cost, unhealthy foods and lack of exercise due to technology such as cellphones, gaming and computers are main contributors.

Pre-diabetes means your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal but not yet diabetes.

Other risk factors for pre-diabetes include lack of physical activity, a close relative, such as a brother, sister or parent with diabetes, and women who had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

Research has shown that over time up to 70 percent of people who have pre-diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Full-blown diabetes will in turn increase the risk of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy, heart and vascular disease, such as heart attacks and stroke, limb amputations and kidney failure. This of course comes at an enormous cost economically, in addition to loss of quality of life and even early death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that 1 in every 3 adults, or 84.1 million people in the U.S., have pre-diabetes, of which 90 percent don’t know they have it. Unfortunately, this is on top of a growing child and adolescent population that is overweight or obese.

Luckily, the CDC found that a 5 percent to 7 percent weight loss in a person considered to be a prediabetic can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by 58 percent, and in those age 60 and above by 71 percent! In a person weighing 200 pounds this translates into a 10-14 pound weight loss.

Research has demonstrated that lifestyle changes such as eating healthy coupled with routine exercise and subsequent weight loss can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Creating a healthy environment such as bike-and-walk paths and encouraging people to become more physically active is of paramount importance as a first step to curtail this epidemic.

Check with your doctor first to see if you are at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes before you can safely embark on an exercise program.

Thank you, Brownsville Herald, for featuring such a timely article on building healthy communities and congratulations to the people involved in creating this environment for all to enjoy. Kudos for those involved in building the community gardens and those who contribute in providing healthy food choices at our Saturday Farmers’ Market.

Roberto Robles, M.D., Heart Institute of Brownsville Wellness Center, Brownsville


Immigration: Be rational

With regard to Ruben Navarrette’s column regarding the border emergency, like so many stories about this topic, this piece ignores a basic premise. We are talking about illegal crossings.

Politicians, media folks, chambers of commerce and others seem all too eager to conflate a position of anti-illegal immigration with a position of anti-immigration. I believe most reasonable people would hold a position that immigration should occur in an orderly process and follow some basic rules of law. What we have here is a group of people who are basically saying, “I’m coming in whether you are ready for me or not.” Why this is occurring is a whole other story. But the question you must ask is: Is this sustainable?

I don’t have the latest numbers, but I believe every year a population greater than 100,000 is apprehended in South Texas alone. That number is larger than most city populations down here in the RGV. That does not include the numbers that continue along their journey unapprehended.

Maybe you are OK with 100,000, but what if it were 200,000 or 500,000? Surely you will reach a number that you feel will be a breaking point.

A large influx of immigrants doesn’t have an impact on wages, schools, social services, etc. There is a reason a construction worker down here makes significantly less than his counterpart upstate. It is basic supply and demand.

I simply think that journalists, policymakers and others need to be the “adults in the room,” and as difficult as it is, separate emotion from rational discussion.

Chuck Gonzalez, Edinburg

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