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NMSU's Diabetes Cooking Show Shares Recipe for Living Well

LAS CRUCES - A four-course cooking series from New Mexico State University will serve up healthy advice for people with diabetes, their families and friends during National Diabetes Month.

Kelley Coffeen, a home economist and food consultant, left, and Lola Cunico, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, are co-hosts of "Tasty Solutions for Diabetes," which airs in November on PBS stations KENW in Portales and KRWG in Las Cruces. Coffeen and Cunico will prepare dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and entertaining on the four-part series to be broadcast during National Diabetes Month. (10/21/2005) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Tomilee Turner)

"Tasty Solutions for Diabetes" will air on Saturdays in November on public television stations KENW in Portales at 9:30 a.m. and KRWG in Las Cruces at 10:30 a.m. DirecTV subscribers statewide can view the KENW broadcast.

The show comes from NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, which won a national award in 2004 for holding statewide diabetic cooking schools.

"Tasty Solutions" co-hosts are Lola Cunico, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, and Kelley Coffeen, a home economist and food consultant. The duo will prepare dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and entertaining.

"The recipes are nutritionally sound for anyone who's interested in a healthier life?especially people who want to lose weight or those who are at risk for heart disease," said Martha Archuleta, interim head of NMSU's extension home economics and family and consumer sciences departments.

The show's menu includes a dash of fun and nuggets of wisdom from Skip Chafin and Maria Martos, two New Mexicans successfully managing their diabetes.

Two national experts provide a helping of sound medical information. Physician Richard A. Jackson is medical director of the Diabetes Outpatient Intensive Treatment Program for the Joslin Diabetes Center, affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Clinical psychologist William H. Polonsky is director of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute and author of "Diabetes Burnout: What To Do When You Can't Take It Anymore," published by the American Diabetes Association.

Video producers for the show with NMSU's agricultural communications department have created dozens of nutrition videos in English, Spanish and Navajo; award-winning international documentaries and the "Southwest Yard & Garden" regional PBS series. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For show information and diabetes resources, visit the "Tasty Solutions" Web site at http://www.tastysolutions.com.

An estimated 120,000 New Mexicans?one in 11 adults?have diabetes.

"That's equivalent to the population of a five-county area that includes Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, Otero and Socorro counties," said Bruce Jacobs, Extension health specialist.

In New Mexico, diabetes costs $1 billion annually to treat. If not properly managed, the disease carries life-altering complications of heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and amputations. It is the state's sixth leading cause of death.

The show will reach viewers in the Texas High Plains and El Paso, where diabetes is prevalent. In the El Paso area alone, 80,000 people have type 2 diabetes, once called "adult onset" diabetes. A growing number of type 2 diabetes patients are children, mostly those who are overweight or obese. The El Paso Diabetes Association estimates that 17 percent of local elementary school students and 22 percent of middle school students are overweight, putting them at increased risk.

Diabetes ranks as one of most serious public health problems in Texas, with 1.3 million people or 8.1 percent of the population with diagnosed diabetes. Diabetes ranks as the sixth leading cause of death in Texas and fourth leading cause of death among Latinos and African-Americans.

American Indians are about three times more likely to have diagnosed diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Hispanics and African-Americans have about twice the risk, according to the New Mexico Diabetes Prevention and Control Program.