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Colorado health leaders have a new answer to help Latinos overcome barriers to proper healthcare, like language, cultural stigmas, and a lack of access…
…a chat series.
The new Community Hearth Health Actions for Latinos at Risk (CHARLAR) program, which originated in Denver (30.94%) before coming to Steamboat Springs (8.3% Latino population), arms Latinos with personal health knowledge they may not otherwise have.
“Many Latinos have poor dietary and health habits,” said Erick Ocampo, a community connector for Northwest Colorado Health that is running the program, in an interview with Steamboat Today. “Overeating, not exercising, and not getting help for health issues until the issues are very serious … In our culture, we don’t really care.”
In the summer of 2016, Ocampo started an “informal” 12-week CHARLAR class that tough local Latinos about the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and preventative health care.
The classes are taught in Spanish and were open to all ages.
The class was able to overcome the isolation factor that most Latinos feel; from Ocampo’s experience, they primarily go to work and are at home, rarely socializing with anyone outside their own family and never attending functions such as these classes. By becoming a part of the community, Ocampo was able to earn their trust.
“I have learned that prevention is a key to save your life,” said Maria Villegas, a participant of the class in an interview with Steamboat Today. “You need to be able to recognize what the risks are if you have a sedentary life and poor eating habits.”
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