Dallas city officials must be trying to imagine controlling a crowd of more than 20,000 kids and their parents - between 40,000 and 50,000 people total - without enough volunteers.

But with less than two weeks to go before the free Aug. 3 event, officials say they are only halfway to meeting their goal of recruiting 450 to 500 volunteers.

Bilingual volunteers are especially needed. More than 90 percent of the students who go to the fair attend Dallas schools, and the district has one of the state's largest numbers of students with limited English proficiency: more than 48,000.

The event has been held annually for 10 years at Fair Park's Automobile and Centennial buildings and has become the one-stop shop for giving students solid footing the minute they enter class on the first day of school.

"About 80 percent of the district's students already qualify for free breakfasts and lunches, so this is indispensable for these families," he said.

The fair, to be at the Amon Carter Exhibit Hall in the Will Rogers Memorial Complex, will offer an array of free health screenings and social services from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for people with no health insurance or access to medical care.

It's not unusual for some participants to be sent to the hospital from the fair. Many wait until the last minute before seeing a doctor for their ailments.

In the past couple of years, organizers have been especially concerned with trying to reach Latino children at risk of developing diabetes, Dr. González said.

"We have a terrible epidemic of obesity and diabetes in our community," she said. "We're finding that the children have it at a much younger age than their parents did."

A study of 260 Latino families in Fort Worth has been testing children for obesity and diabetes and found that obesity tends to run in families. About a quarter of the parents and 6.7 percent of the children are pre-diabetic and didn't know it.

"An overweight child is a marker for an overweight family," said , assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. She will be at the fair screening children who may be at risk of developing diabetes.

The program promotes physical activity and a healthier diet to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease related to obesity.

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