Healthy Bodies: A Curriculum that Promotes Physical Activity and Family Fun for Latinos Utilizing Traditional Latin American Games
The Latino community is facing a health epidemic. Latinos suffer disproportionate rates of obesity, diabetes, and early childhood cavities, among other diseases and conditions. Nearly 70% of California’s Latino adults are overweight or obese and among California’s adolescents age 12-17, Latinos are most likely to be overweight or at risk for becoming overweight. In San Francisco, 75% of adult Latinos are overweight or obese and 11% are diabetic. Other risk factors indicate a greater potential for disparities in the future, with Latino 9th graders having the second highest rates of sugary drinks consumption compared to their other classmates and the highest rates of becoming overweight. These statistics point to an alarming state of health for Latino families but there is hope. Obesity is a preventable cause of death and CARECEN is committed to working with Latino families to reverse this health crisis.
By bridging the latest science, Latino cultural traditions, and community voices, CARECEN has developed a new innovative and educational tool to effectively improve the health of Latino families. Cuerpos Sanos (Healthy Bodies) is a 12 workshop series targeting low-income Latino parents for the purpose of increasing awareness and strategies to promote physical activity, health and wellness from a culturally informed perspective. CARECEN’s community health workers, who receive intensive training from experts in various fields and who also come from the community, are effective and ideal in leading this effort. Our goal is to reach 25 Latino parents over six months. We expect that access and engagement in this curriculum will lead to changes in Latino families’ physical activity levels, knowledge, and community engagement. Your support will enable San Francisco Latino families to make healthy changes in their diets and physical activity levels that will build a foundation for long lasting health and wellness in the Latino community.
Why it Matters
Studies show that Latino immigrants are healthier upon arrival to the U.S. than subsequent generations who experience declining health. Factors contributing to this phenomenon include the lack of access to affordable healthy foods and adequate housing, poverty, neighborhood violence, immigration status, and language and cultural barriers, among others. Our years of experience providing direct social services and advocacy, along with our transnational work to address the needs of the Latino immigrant community has yielded successful results in creating positive change in our communities. We know that access to information, education, leadership opportunities, and community engagement leads to greater awareness, motivation, and capacity to make healthy changes that will impact Latino families and the larger community. Cuerpos Sanos gives families the necessary tools to lead healthy and active lifestyles that will cause a ripple effect into their communities via their nuclear and extended families. Our success is measured by participant’s engagement and satisfaction with the curriculum. Pre and post-tests will also measure the curriculum’s effectiveness in shaping participant’s understanding of the importance of physical activity in the overall health and wellness of their families and their communities.
How We’ll Put Your Donations to Work
Funds will be used to provide community health workers with stipends to do outreach and implement the Cuerpo Sano curriculum. We will also use funds to purchase curriculum materials, provide healthy food and incentives to participants. We anticipate reaching our funding goal, although reduced funding will require that we reach less families. Supporters of the project can also make in-kind donations, donate time and expertise to the program, or spread the word about this new innovative initiative.
About Our Organization
CARECEN empowers and responds to the needs, rights, and aspirations of Latino, immigrant, and under-resourced families in the San Francisco Bay Area, building community leadership to pursue equity and justice. Our vision is rooted in the cultural strengths of our people and inspired by the Central American justice struggles that lead to our founding. We envision a country where Latino families prosper and actively participates in U.S. civic life. Our accomplishments include establishing a proven track record providing health education and social services as part of our commitment to promoting healthy eating and active living in the communities more likely to be affected by health disparities.
The Healthy Bodies Team
Vanessa Bohn, Family Wellness and Health Promotion Director
Vanessa Bohm’s commitment and passion for working with the Latino immigrant community and other low-income and marginalized communities has made her a dedicated member of the CARECEN team. Through her work she has developed a deep understanding of issues affecting Latino youth and families, as well as critical health issues affecting Latino immigrant communities. She has used this knowledge to develop staff capacity and program activities that more effectively advocate and support our clients and their families. She currently oversees our Family Wellness and Health Promotion Programs.
Tomasa Bulux, Promotora de Salud
Tomasa Bulux has dedicated her career to improving the lives of marginalized women. In her native Guatemala, she taught and led programs supporting rural women and girls. Tomasa, who is Maya K’iche’, received her Baccalaureate Degree in Social Work from Universidad Rafael Landivar, in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and earned a Community Mental Health Work Certificate at City College of San Francisco. Her cultural and linguistic background grants her community access and cultural sensitivity. Whether in her native language, K’iche’, Spanish or English, Ms. Bulux is a key asset for CARECEN Family Wellness and Health Promotion Program.