When donors, particularly high school-age donors, give the gift of life, their community blood center can return the favor. And Carter BloodCare does exactly that.
To learn a bit more about the role high school students play for Carter BloodCare, we sat down with Steve Eason, the nonprofit’s Director of Development.
More than 20% of the blood center’s annual collections come from high school blood drives, so it’s no surprise community blood centers continuously educate this important demographic. They are young and healthy (generally speaking) and present the opportunity to become a lifetime blood donor.
“One way Carter BloodCare plays an important role in promoting public health includes providing an annual report of group data showing cholesterol levels of the student donors at each high school. In turn, the high school administrators can use this information to determine food and nutrition changes, modify physical activity programs, and develop educational programs focused on healthy habits and heart disease prevention,” said Mr. Eason. “Ultimately, our hope is this database of information can be used to implement positive health policies.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 17% of adolescents are obese – a number that has doubled in the last 10 to 15 years. “Now is the time for us to have some type of community-wide intervention to address the obesity issue in the U.S. because, if untreated, it will lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life,” said Mr. Eason.
Mr. Eason recently co-authored a journal article Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research, with Carter BloodCare’s CEO Dr. Merlyn Sayers, et al, about the high prevalence of pre-diabetes in adolescent blood donors from North Texas. The study, of over 31,000 teenagers reported 11% of the adolescent blood donors were identified as having pre-diabetes.
Figure 1. Study of 31,546 adolescents. Prevalence of haemoglobin A1C> 5.7% (encompassing the prediabetic and the diabetic range) within sex, race/ethnicity and sociodemographic strata.
Click here to download a clinical article summary of the journal article referenced above: High prevalence of elevated haemoglobin A1C among adolescent blood donors: Results from a voluntary screening programme including 31,546 adolescents.