Weekly H-E-B cooking demos show the components to healthy meals in one convenient location. Photo by Sarah Gibbens.
Weekly H-E-B cooking demos show the components to healthy meals in one convenient location. Photo by Sarah Gibbens.

November is American Diabetes Month, but diabetes is a year-round reality for almost 30 million Americans. According to University Health System, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in Texas and fourth in Bexar County with more than 137,000 people diagnosed with the disease. That’s 11.8% of the county population.

While local efforts have made significant strides in reducing the obesity rate, which fell from 35.1% to 28.5% between 2010 and 2012 in Bexar County, the city has one of the highest rates of Type II diabetes in the U.S.

There are multiple genetic predispositions, but poor lifestyle choices account for the vast majority of the obesity and diabetes cases in San Antonio, especially prevalent in minority populations. Most of the diabetic and obesity cases are preventable with proper diet and exercise.

It takes education and commitment to balance and prepare a family’s diet on a budget, and opting for unhealthy and nutrition-deficient fast food alternatives is a common choice, so H-E-B and the American Diabetes Association are partnering to introduce new in-store program to help people adopt healthier alternatives.

The H-E-B Nutrition Services program launched Thursday in select stores across Texas, including two in San Antonio. Registered dietitians are “based” at specific stores, but will travel to other stores to connect with customers at scheduled events.

H-E-B stores at 35 SW Military Ave. on the Southside and 10718 Potranco on the far Westside near SeaWorld will be home to the inaugural Nutrition Services program.

“As soon as customers walk through our doors, they begin making decisions that most impact their health and that of their family. Nutrition Services is a way for H-E-B to further assist Texans when making healthy choices for themselves and their families,” stated Kate Rogers, H-E-B Vice President of Engagement in a press release. “From individuals and employers to medical professionals and their patients, this new line of services can be tailored to fit each of our customer’s distinctive needs.”

Stores that feature H-E-B Nutrition Services will have registered dietitians and nutritionists on-site who will provide affordable nutrition education and care, private one-on-one consultations, grocery shopping tours, cooking demonstrations, group health classes, kids’ cooking classes, “lunch and learn” sessions, disease management classes and more.

Some of these services will be by appointment and are priced as low as $20 per person. H-E-B accepts Medicare, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. Some events will be open to the public.

Customers eligible for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be offered a discount on some services within the program. There also will be coupons distributed in at-risk neighborhoods.

The Nutrition Services program runs parallel with the American Diabetes Association’s current “American Gets Cooking to Stop Diabetes” campaign.

“Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, with nearly two million new cases diagnosed each year,” stated Tiffani Nair, ADA Director of Mission Delivery and Communications. “Because of this staggering statistic, we are proud to partner with H-E-B for the launch of a program that aims to combat this trend and inspires people to live a healthier lifestyle, starting with their food choices.”

During the month of November, H-E-B Nutrition Services will offer a 20% discount on all services as well as a 50% discount on diabetes awareness classes and shopping tours at various stores in Texas.

“Whether you are trying to manage a disease or just want to learn how to more effectively shop for your health, our nutrition experts are available to help each customer reach their individual goals through both free and paid services within the program,” said Stacy Bates, H-E-B Registered Dietitian Program Manager.

For more information about the H-E-B Nutrition Services program and a list of event dates and times, visit www.heb.com/nutrition.

*Featured/top image: Weekly H-E-B cooking demos show the components to healthy meals in one convenient location. Photo by Sarah Gibbens.

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Month One: Pursuing Health and Balance

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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org