By Mel Fabrikant
Latino populations are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases related to a lack of physical activity and poor diet. Lower socioeconomic status and ready access to cheap, unhealthy foods are just some of the contributing factors that have set far too many Latinos on the path to an unhealthy lifestyle. In an effort to address this issue, the NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Institute for Hispanic Health, in collaboration with General Mills and Walmart, is expanding its healthy shopping program, Comprando Rico y Sano, which is designed to teach Latinos how to be health-conscious consumers and make the correct food choices for their families.
“To truly contribute to the health of Latino families, we have to move beyond just telling people that they need to be healthier and actually show them how to shop, making the most of their money without sacrificing the foods that are good for their families,” said Delia Pompa, NCLR Senior Vice President of Programs. “We are all dealing with tightened budgets. Thankfully this program identifies how to make adjustments to your shopping so that you’re putting the healthiest and highest-quality products on the table without breaking the bank.”
To date, NCLR has partnered with 12 community-based organizations from its national Affiliate Network to increase awareness about health-conscious shopping and food choices through this program. Using a promotores de salud (lay health educators) model, the project has successfully reached over 3,000 Latino community members through interactive educational sessions, or charlas. The new partnership hopes to expand outreach to an additional 6,000 Hispanics across the country.
“We at General Mills are so proud to have been sponsoring NCLR for more than 25 years, and the Comprando Rico y Sano program is one that we are extremely passionate about since it aligns perfectly with our company’s mission of Nourishing Lives,” said Maria Rodas, Multicultural Marketing Manager at General Mills. “We believe that this program has a lot to offer to the Hispanic community, providing them resources to make smart decisions when shopping and eating in order to live better, healthier and richer lives. This year we are excited to have Walmart as a partner because with our joint efforts we will be able to grow this initiative even more.”
The expanded program will include an updated curriculum that more fully addresses Latinos’ need for simple, accurate information about healthy shopping, with special consideration for limited budgets and supplemental nutrition programs. The new materials will also include an emphasis on strategies that can help consumers easily identify healthy foods. For example, shoppers will be instructed to look for aids such as the Whole Grains stamp, the Walmart “Great for You” logo, the White Check on General Mills cereals, and low sodium labels.
“At Walmart we strongly believe that no Latino family should ever have to choose between food they can afford and food that is healthier for their children,” said Mark Espinoza, Senior Director at Walmart. “To make it easier for them, we are supporting nutrition education programs, reducing sodium and sugar from some foods, providing everyday low prices, bringing stores to food deserts and facilitating healthier choices with our Great for You icon. By working together, we can help families live better.”
Walmart, General Mills and NCLR will also help increase awareness about this issue by organizing cooking demonstrations, grocery store tours and other community events. For updated information about the program, please contact Paul Aguilar at [email protected]
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Latinos. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org , or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
Source: The Paramus Post