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Maria Silva: Adding Latino Nutrition to Spanish Magazines



Maria Silva is a registered dietitian and educator in St. Vincent de Paul’s bilingual Family Wellness Program in Phoenix (44% Latino). The program shares its services online on its website, and at local health fairs. But Silva noticed many local people had no Internet access or did not know about the health fairs. They missed opportunities to benefit from the program and free services offered. What other way could Silva promote program awareness and offer nutritional advice, healthy recipes, and healthy eating tips? She found the answer in an old-school magazine. The Program and the Magazine The Family Wellness Program began in 1999. It aims to boost the health of local Latino families, from a provision of medical and dental care to healthy lifestyle services for ...

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Community Health Centers Engage Latinos in Mental Health, Nutrition, Fitness



Many Latinos in Minnesota get “left out,” of the healthcare picture. That’s why HealthFinders Collaborative aims to provider healthcare and services to marginalized families in Rice county, nearly 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But HealthFinders leaders like Charlie Mandile continued to identify gaps in local healthcare. Mandile and his team came up with a solution a few years ago: the Pura Vida Healthy Lifestyles Program, an effort to bring free preventive health and fitness classes to the local rapidly growing Latino population. How has the effort paid off? Gaps in Latino health in Minnesota HealthFinders Collaborative, community health centers in Northfield, Minn. (8% Latino population), and Faribault, Minn. (11.74% Latino population) formed to ...

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Health Worker Starts Free Fitness in the Park



Pete Garcia spent several years as a personal trainer in San Antonio, learning first-hand that many residents in at-risk parts of the city struggled with obesity and related health problems. So when Garcia became the city’s supervisor of athletics and programs, he wanted to develop and implement programs that would increase access to physical activity opportunities for at-risk residents across the city. With grant funding and the city’s formation of the Mayor’s Fitness Council a few years ago, Garcia was able to capitalize on partnerships and collaboration to develop the “Fitness in the Park” program to provide free fitness classes in parks in each of the city’s 10 council districts. San Antonio Inactive and Unhealthy Pete Garcia worked for many years as a personal ...

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Nurse Helps Students See Healthy Food as Fun, Delicious Art



Registered nurse Derek Dimas learned kids need to eat healthier to help decrease the high rates of obesity in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas (50.7 % Latino). By starting a program to help kids see fruits and vegetables as delicious works of art, students in schools across the city are having fun learning how to create and enjoy healthier snacks. The Obesity Problem In spring 2014, Derek Dimas, a nursing student at the time, was certain he wanted to make a huge impact on the overall health of his community of Corpus Christi in Nueces County. While taking an epidemiology class, Dimas reviewed data and learned that the city had record-high levels of obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. About 42% of local Latinos and blacks are overweight or obese, he said. “For ...

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Neighbors and Leaders Calm Traffic on Scary Street



Neighborhood leaders and residents like Paul D. López and Fany Mendez in the Denver, Colo., neighborhood of Westwood worked together with local organizations to tackle safety concerns on Morrison Road, an arterial street that bisected their neighborhood. In addition to safety issues, they were also concerned about health, because kids can’t play and people can’t walk on busy, unsafe streets. Their efforts led to a pedestrian-activated traffic light, traffic calming features, medians, and aesthetically-pleasing infrastructure and landscaping to make the road more accessible to all. Unsafe Street Scares Kids and Families Paul D. López, the District 3 City Councilmember in Denver, Colo. (31.8% Latino), grew up a few blocks from his current office on Morrison Road, a busy main ...

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Fitness Instructor Helps Launch La Casita Fitness and Learning Center



Westwood Unidos and Re:Vision, two local organizations in the Westwood neighborhood of Denver, Colo. (31.2% Latino population) were already working to make the area a healthier place for families. Westwood Unidos organized local community members, like Fany Mendez, to teach fitness classes in their spare time wherever they could, such as schools, churches, and even bars. When Westwood Unidos learned about a small building that was going to be torn down on a piece of land recently purchased by Re:Vision, Westwood Unidos raised the money to transform the building into a community center named La Casita, with educational and physical activity classes taught by Mendez and local community members. Westwood Families Not Active Enough Fany Mendez, before she became the Coordinator of La ...

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College Friends Connect Latino Families to Local Produce


Tori ostenso mobile produce market

College friends Tori Ostenso and Emily Pence met through volunteer opportunities while in school. They soon learned there was plenty of fresh produce in their neighborhoods, but immigrant families lacked access to these healthy options in Rice County, Minn. (8% Latino population). The two students wanted to help. They eventually started a mobile market and eventually began a weekly program to help Latino and other families have greater access to an affordable bag full of fresh local organic vegetables. Abundant Fresh Produce, But Inequitable Access Victoria (Tori) Ostenso became keenly aware of the bounty of healthy fresh produce grown in Northfield, Minn (8.4% Latino) while working at Carleton College’s two-acre organic vegetable farm in summer 2012 after her freshman year ...

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Future Generations Learn Healthy Eating Through Teaching Kitchens



In the San Antonio, Texas area (69% Latino) families, health care leaders like Dr. Mark Gilger, and philanthropy groups like the Goldsbury Foundation are exploring what healthy and culturally fun Latino meals look like with the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio’s new Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) program. Aiming to be a new culinary health model for families needing help in preventing diet-related disease such as childhood diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, the goal of the program is to provide San Antonio residents with tools, resources, and education to lead healthier lives and encourage healthy weights for children. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn:  Dr. Mark Gilger, pediatrician-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, has seen first-hand a local and ...

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MEDA Creates 100% Affordable Housing for San Francisco Residents



What happens when Latinos get "priced out" of the homes they've lived in for decades? People like Luis Granados step up. Granados, Christopher Gil, and other leaders of the nonprofit Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) didn't stand by when a tech boom in San Francisco’s Mission District (30% Latino)—a hub for the city’s immigrant population—brought in higher-priced homes and threatened to push out lower-income families. They embarked on a mission to create 100% affordable housing in the area. The rising housing costs in San Francisco Since 1973, the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) offers free financial services to lower-income families in San Francisco’s Mission District, a traditionally Latino neighborhood where most rent their homes, said ...

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