Every March we observe National Nutrition Month. As this March draws to a close, we at NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health thought it fitting to highlight the work we have been doing to promote healthy living in Latino communities. We have been crisscrossing the country in an effort send the message that Latinos have much to gain from engaging in healthy eating habits.
Through our promotores de salud (lay health workers), we empower Latino families to take control of their health and reduce their risk factors for obesity and chronic disease. Our trainings have provided these promotores with the skills and resources to promote healthy living in their own communities. Participants in one of our programs, Selección Sana, Vida Saludable, learn to do three things: perform an environmental scan assessing the community’s support of healthy living, conduct educational outreach to Latinos, and serve as a link between the Latino community and health care services such as federal assistance programs.
We’re working with nine of our Affiliates to implement this promotores de salud program: CASA de Maryland, Mexican American Unity Council, Communidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), United Community Center, Tiburcio Vazquez Health Center, Hispanic Health Initiatives, Inc., The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Spanish Catholic Center of Catholic Charities DC, and Hispanic Services Council.
Check out our promotores in action in the charming video below below in which participants learn about exercising while cleaning.
We have also ramped up our efforts to educate Latinos on how to make healthy choices when grocery shopping. Latinos generally eat fewer fruits and vegetables than the rest of the population, so we’ve teamed up with General Mills and Walmart to develop a healthy shopping curriculum. Through our Comprando Rico y Sano program, we’re addressing this issue and helping families access fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods in their communities.
We have been working with 14 community-based organizations from our Affiliate Network to implement this program. The hallmarks of Comprando Rico y Sano include cooking demonstrations and webinars designed to increase community interest in making healthier food decisions.
One Affiliate in Los Angeles, El Centro de Pueblo, has partnered with Children’s Institute, Inc. to host a series of charlas for parents who send their kids to the Institute’s after-school programs.
Another Affiliate, Para Los Niños, is working with its own network of charter schools to educate parents on the value of making healthy food choices for their families.
One Affiliate already highlighted in February, TODEC Legal Center, is continuing its own outstanding work with residents in Perris, California and Riverside County. Their efforts have been remarkable, reaching over 500 people in just four months. See for yourself just how this Affiliate has been so successful in advancing the ideals set forth in Comprando Rico y Sano.
In keeping with the popular “Harlem Shake” meme, TODEC also produced their very own. It’s worth watching.
National Nutrition Month may be just about over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop talking about the merits of making healthy choices for our families. If we are truly going to improve the health of our community, we must keep the conversation going in our own neighborhoods, online, and in the comments below. Let us know how you intend to promote healthy living.
Happy National Nutrition Month everyone!