"¡Mentes Sanas… Cuerpos Sanos!"
                  Healthy Minds… Healthy Bodies!

The Need

Childhood obesity is a serious disease among racial and ethnic underserved communities.  According to the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1976–1980 and 2003–2006), the data show that the prevalence of obesity has increased for children ages 2–19 by up to 17.6%.  Approximately one in five children in the US between the ages of 6 and 17 are obese. About 33 percent of African American and Hispanic children are overweight.

Childhood obesity becomes an even larger problem as the Latino population ages; one out of three elderly Latinos is obese.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that on average Hispanic American adults had 21 percent higher obesity prevalence compared with whites.

There are many different factors that contribute to Latinos’ poor health status, the most prevalent are:  1) inadequate access to health care; 2) receive less preventive care; 3) less likely to be reached by mainstream health education, promotion, and disease prevention messages; 4) more likely to contract or develop certain diseases; 5) less access to health education or culturally- and linguistically- competent health care information and services; 6) shortage of Hispanic health professionals, including nutritionists and Certified Obesity Educators; 7) lack of knowledge and understanding of the Hispanic culture and language among health care providers.   

Therefore, the high prevalence of obesity and its complications, along with inadequate access to medical care, health education, disease prevention and culturally competent services and providers greatly exacerbates the burden of obesity among Latinos.

The Need

The “¡Mentes Sanas… Cuerpos Sanos!” initiative is intended to serve as an extension of DLI’s Promotores de Salud program.   While the Promotores de Salud program will work to train additional strategic Hispanic community-based leaders to serve as Lay Health Workers in their own neighborhoods, “¡Mentes Sanas… Cuerpos Sanos!” will provide this new cadre of healthcare workers with targeted information to address one of the most serious issues facing Hispanics across the nation – childhood obesity.
This project recruits community leaders in target cities to become Promotores de Salud (Lay Heath Workers). Once the Promotores de Salud are recruited and trained they will work in coordination with DLI staff on promotion and awareness of childhood obesity prevention strategies in underserved Hispanic communities.

The Need

“¡Mentes Sanas… Cuerpos Sanos!” is an interactive and comprehensive childhood obesity education/training program that provides a tool kit designed specifically for use by Promotores de Salud (Lay Health Workers) working in concert with Hispanic community organizations in targeted cities.  The tool kit will serve as a training module guide and contain supporting materials to be used during parent-child trainings, and an evaluation component.

The Need

“¡Mentes Sanas… Cuerpos Sanos!” directly addresses the rising rate of childhood obesity in underserved Hispanic communities. Through “¡Mentes Sanas… Cuerpos Sanos!”, DLI will increase awareness of the seriousness of child obesity to the Hispanic child and parent, its risk factors, and potential strategies for preventing the disease using linguistically and culturally appropriate materials and messages.

The Need

“¡Mentes Sanas… Cuerpos Sanos!” is designed to help children and their families understand, address and be proactive regarding childhood obesity through three main avenues of activities:

  1. Create hands-on opportunities for children and their families that provide them new ways to experience the benefits of healthy eating

    1. Shared-kitchen
    2. Shared-shopping
    3. Shared-exercising
    4. Shared-budgeting

  2. Provide parents and caregivers the tools to create safe and healthy environments where the child feels supported and valued

    1. Workshops
    2. Tool kits
    3. Training

  3. Provide parents/caregivers and children positive social and emotional learning experiences to help create lifestyle change that value physical fitness and healthy eating

    1. Cooking classes
    2. Guides

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