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San Francisco (41.9% Latino), will now enjoy the refreshing ability to have clean water access in neighborhoods across the city, where free drinking water stations will be installed thanks to community collaborations.
The collaborations include the City of San Francisco, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), and other community groups that are hoping to help lower-income neighborhoods have access to quality water, and reduce the high rates of obesity and diabetes.
Diabetes, impacts around two million Latinos in the U.S. and about 95% of all diabetes cases are Type 2. This type of Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t make enough insulin and can lead to serious health risks like heart attacks, strokes, depression and more.
Latinos often live in neighborhoods where fast food and unhealthy corner stores are more abundant than grocery stores and access to parks, leading to unhealthy outcomes.
With the new 19 public water stations are projected to be installed citywide. This healthier built environment may lead to more consumption of water, and better health outcomes, which UCSF plans on studying to see any improvements in curbing the consumption of sugary beverages.
Roberto Vargas, MPH, Navigator for the Community Engagement and Health Policy program for UCSF’s Clinical & Translations Science Institute (CTSI) is working to make sure policy and community practice work hand in hand, finding out from focus groups that residents were asking for affordable and trustable water access, like refillable water stations near parks and community areas.
“How do we ensure that what we know about science fits what the community knows and needs?”, Vargas told UCSF news.
Water stations are being located based on input from focus groups, but other initiatives that ban sugary drinks from city or community events, or sugary drink ads on city property are also part of the movement.
The data from three groups will be compared, along with the effects of a multicultural, multigenerational health education campaign that is planned to accompany the new water stations.
Vargas and all the groups collaborating on the project hope to see this evidence-based approach make a true impact on SF’s health overall.