Surgeon General

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U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona says preventative medicine could end a host of health-related problems in Alabama's Black Belt region.

He told hundreds of health care advocates in Birmingham yesterday that illnesses associated with obesity and tobacco must be addressed to reduce the threat of disease.

Carmona, making his first visit to the state, said birth defects are preventable if mothers are educated about proper prenatal care.

He also discussed the increasing rate of diabetes in African Americans. He said the disease is spawning epidemics of obesity, blindness, kidney disease and heart problems.

The Birmingham conference was sponsored by the Community Care Network. The network is a grassroots program dedicated to stopping the Black Belt's, health, social and economic problems.