Hello Parent Earth community!
My name is Flavia and I am excited to be working with the Parent Earth staff on their mission to help parents educate themselves on healthy eating habits for the entire family.
A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a Minority Health Forum sponsored by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and I thought I would share some of the highlights with you.
The talk focused on health statistics and trends for minority communities in New York. By now, we are mostly all aware that obesity poses a serious threat to our population’s health and that it is linked to many illnesses ranging from diabetes to heart disease. Studies show that more than a third of New Yorkers are overweight, and nearly one quarter are obese. Sadly, these numbers are even higher when looking at minority communities due to the lack of proper health care and screenings, little access to healthy foods, health education and awareness. There is now a growing disparity between the health of those growing up in less affluent communities and those with easier access to healthy options.
The bad news is that communities of color are twice as likely to suffer from obesity and related illnesses. The good news is that we can do something to reverse some of the damage by implementing programs that will change our perceptions of food culture, educate the public, and provide access to inexpensive healthy foods.
These are some of the strategies that are being put into practice in New York to help fight obesity in minority communities:
- There are 450 Green Carts strategically placed in high-risk neighborhoods to give residents an alternative to fast food or unhealthy snacks. These carts sell seasonal fruits and vegetables at affordable prices.
- The Healthy Bodega Initiative is a program that promotes an increase in healthy snacks and fresh produce offered at local bodegas and delis. This is particularly important since many at-risk communities are food deserts and residents do a lot of their grocery shopping at their local bodegas.
- The implementation of Health Bucks to EBT (Food stamp) recipients. This program is really gaining popularity and is a great incentive for low income families to explore local farmer’s markets. Basically, Health Bucks provides an extra $2.00 for every $5.00 spent at a farmer’s market.
- The Kids Cook Monday campaign is a program brought in collaboration with Columbia University and provides a space where parents and children can attend on Monday evenings to cook, learn about nutrition, and share a family dinner. This program will be offered in two locations in East and Central Harlem in the coming weeks.