Treating Obesity in Underserved Communities in Houston (TOUCH) is a program funded by the UnitedHealth Foundation to help identify residents of Houston's Third Ward and East End at risk for chronic diseases and connect them with programs and services to fully maximize their health potential.
This community project is being implemented through the University of Houston’s (UH) HEALTH (Helping Everyone Achieve a LifeTime of Health) Research Institute with support provided by the Texas Obesity Research Center (TORC) and community stakeholders (health centers, community and faith-based organizations, government entities, and local businesses).
TOUCH provides free and culturally informed health education, prevention strategies, and intervention support and aims to serve as a model of a sustainable and scalable program that can be replicated in other communities.
TOUCH's very own, Victoria Lara speaks about the importance of early prevention through changing the daily habits of exercise and food choices. She informs the audience that our program is possible thanks to the support of the United Health Foundation. Victoria also mentions that through our partnership with YMCA, there's a great opportunity to change the lives of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes through a year-long prevention program. After qualifying for the prevention program, they will receive 25 sessions in the first four months where they will attend once a week and thereafter, once a month. The program is available in locations near the Hispanic community to allow them easy access to the program.
TOUCH will reach at least 7,000 youth and adults in approximately 5,000 families, most of which will be Black or Hispanic and socioeconomically disadvantaged. Primary prevention services coordinates and integrates medical services, benefits, and resource programs to provide knowledge and reduce barriers, while improving access and utilization of prevention services.
Treatment interventions fill a gap in existing health-related services. They are designed to result in overall healthy behavioral modifications that encourage preventative behaviors such as making healthy food choices and including physical activity in everyday life.