El Centro CA September 19, 2013 – The Imperial County Public Health Department, along with the Network for a Healthy California (Network) and community partners, is observing Latino Health Awareness Month (LHAM) with an event at the Imperial Valley Mall on Friday, September 20th. LHAM is an annual, public health observance that takes place each September to help empower Latino families to live healthier, more active lives. It creates opportunities for communities throughout California to come together and learn how to break the cycle of unhealthy eating habits by discovering healthy twists on traditional foods, sharing tips and resources, and joining the movement for healthy change.
The event at the Imperial Valley Mall is meant to encourage community residents to overcome access barriers and empower them to start making healthy changes for themselves, their families and their community. Nutrition education resources and health information that promotes healthy and active living habits will be made available by local community agencies. The Department of Social Services will be sharing information on CalFresh and nutrition, and the Imperial County Children and Families First Commission will be sharing informational kits with new parents. The public is also invited to participate in the “Today for a Healthy Tomorrow Walk” inside the Imperial Valley Mall starting at 5:30 pm. Information about the Walk will be available at the Imperial County Public Health Department’s table.
“We are encouraging Latino families to take a stand against obesity by breaking the cycle of unhealthy eating,” said Yoli Viviana Sanchez, Imperial County Public Health Department, Network Program Supervisor.
Nearly half of the individuals five to twenty years old in Imperial County are overweight or obese. Children whose parents are overweight or obese are at higher risk for becoming obese themselves. In fact, four in five obese youth with an obese parent will become obese adults. Studies show that having a normal weight reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 70 percent.
Latino parents can commit to making their family’s health a priority and begin making changes. Even small changes can quickly add up to make big differences. “Breaking the cycle of unhealthy eating doesn’t mean completely giving up the traditional foods we love,” said Luce Filiatrault, Public Health Nutritionist. “By making simple changes, such as adding more fruits and vegetables to traditional dishes, parents can begin to turn the tide on obesity in the Latino community.”
During Latino Health Awareness Month, Latinos throughout California will participate in a variety of fun and educational activities and events to help them adopt life-long healthy habits. Families can discover healthy twists on traditional recipes like adding more fruits and vegetables and using healthier cooking methods.