National Health Foundation Awarded Nearly $1 Million to Address High Obesity Rates in Historic South Central Los Angeles

girl-eating-fruit

National Health Foundation (NHF) was awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles CountyDepartment of Public Health with funding from the California Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant will support the Champions for ChangeHealthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations by providing nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray, and shop.

Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, champions in communities throughout the County will be identified to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physical active in a variety of settings, including early childcare centers, schools, faith-based organizations, corner stores, parks, worksites, and cities.

“National Health Foundation is pleased to be a part of this County-wide initiative, as we are committed to improving underserved communities by taking actions on the social determinants of health,” explained Kelly Bruno, MSW, President/CEO, National Health Foundation. “We are working toward making notable changes in the community by working with students in schools, local corner stores and community partners to make healthier foods more affordable and available as well as identify ways to integrate physical activity into the day to improve the overall health for families in South Central LA.”

According to the LA County: A Cities andCommunities Health Report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top ten leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. While the obesity epidemic continues to impact virtually all population groups, roughly 29% of children and 37% of adults in South Central LA are obese, which is significantly higher than the rest of Los Angeles County. LA County black and Latino resident’s fair worse when it comes to obesity and obesity-related illnesses compared to whites and Asians. Thirty-two percent of Latinos and thirty one percent of blacks are obese in LA County, compared to 18% of whites and 8% of Asians. When it comes to South Central Los Angeles black and Latino residents, who make up 10% and 87% of the population respectively, the situation is no different.

“Reducing obesity is a priority of Public Health and a key objective of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer of Los Angeles County. “By investing in our communities and the people that we serve, we are hopeful that we can make impactful, long-lasting changes for better health outcomes.”