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Texas physician links education and health

Oct. 14, 2009

Dr. Eduardo Sanchez is the chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, and is a former commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services. This morning, he is addressing educators and residents at the Region 12 Education Service Center speaking on the "Role of Education in Achieving Optimal Health Status and the Influence of Health in Academic Achievement." That inverted phrase represents the symbiotic relationship between the two, according to Dr. Sanchez. He gave that speech to Baylor students yesterday, saying that health and education are very intertwined, giving a variety of statistics to back his claims.

Dr. Sanchez said that students who are healthy do better in schools. He believes a big part of planting the seeds of health in young children access to healthy foods and physical education, ensuring that kids have regular time to engage in physical activity. Dr. Sanchez thinks it's a simple way to get the ball rolling on healthy lifestyles, but he says many districts and teachers don't always see it as being as important as he does.

He calls it a positive spiral in his speech.

Dr. Sanchez then cites studies that show a positive correlation between educational attainment and health later on in life. Here is where he says the relationship is symbiotic, where healthy choices as a youngster lead to better performance in school. And people with more educational experience are shown to be healthier as adults.

He's been preaching this message statewide, and will continue this morning as he speaks to area educators. He hopes they'll take it into account, but knows that, even as he receives positive feedback, change often comes slowly.

Dr. Eduardo Sanchez wraps up this Waco leg of his lecture series this morning at 8:30 at the Region 12 Education Service Center. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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