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Successful Strides Taken in Fight Against Childhood Obesity

September 24th, 2015

Successful Strides Taken in Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Contact: Gabriel Stover, Director of Research and Evaluation, Community Health Councils

Phone: 323.295.9372 ext: 242

Email: gabriel@chc-inc.org

LOS ANGELES, CA — Too often in Los Angeles, health is determined by a person’s zip code. South Los Angeles in particular has proven hazardous to health. Next Friday, Community Health Councils (CHC), a consumer-oriented health promotion and advocacy organization, will bring together a coalition of health leaders to share and celebrate its successful models for replicable and scalable policy, systems, and environmental change strategies. These models take aim at reducing obesity and hypertension and eliminating health disparities in underserved communities.
Dr. Leonard Jack, Jr., Director for the Division of Community Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will address researchers, advocates, and community members about opportunities to leverage CHC’s successful strategies to expand their impact in South Los Angles and similar places around the region, the state, and the country.

“Every person should have the opportunity to reach their full health potential,” says Gwen Flynn, Nutrition Resources Policy Director. The facts, however, show that widespread health gaps remain among racial and ethnic groups. Limited healthy food options and significant fast food consumption have led to increasing obesity rates among school-age children. Both adults and children face a high rate of accidental injury walking or riding their bikes in their own neighborhoods. When they do strap on their sneakers and bicycle helmets they’ve got few places to go. Only 1 in 3 South L.A. children live within a 10-minute walk of a park. “What we want,” Flynn continued, “is what everyone wants. A safe, clean environment, and a
chance at a healthy life.”

In just three years CHC’s Partners in Health has made a difference. The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Demonstration Project is a national program of the CDC established to address minority health issues through community involvement. As one of only two sites selected in the country, and the only one lead by a community organization, CHC’s Partners in Health is committed to making South Los Angeles a neighborhood where families can thrive.

“We asked kids and parents to imagine South Los Angeles as a place where kids, adolescents, and adults can all walk and bike safely. We listened to them when asked for healthy food within reach and safe parks that offer fun events and programming for the community,” said Gabriel Stover, Director of Research and Evaluation. “We worked with residents on policy changes to bring clean and toxic-free air and affordable, comprehensive healthcare services to the neighborhoods where they live, work, and play. Then we committed to working together to make it happen.”

Friday’s event will share the achievements of the three-year program, including a successful city- wide push to include its Healthy Kids Zone language into the Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles.“The path to eliminating health disparities must be paved with homemade bricks laid by neighborhood hands,” said David Sloane, professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California. “Each community is different, so while we are developing and expanding effective models that work, how they work depends on community input and—most importantly—community leadership.” Professor Sloane has worked on issues of health equity in South Los Angeles for over two decades.

Dr. Rishi Manchanda, Chief Medical Officer of The Wonderful Company and President of HealthBegins, will deliver a keynote address that puts South L.A. health in context with an emphasis on eliminating health disparities.

For more information on this topic, Gabriel Stover at 323.295.9372 Ext 242 or gabriel@chc-inc.org.

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Community Health Councils (CHC) is a non-profit, community-based health education and policy organization. Established in 1992, our mission is to promote social justice and achieve equity in community and environmental resources for underserved populations. For more, visit chc-inc.org.

3731 Stocker Street • Los Angeles, CA 90008 • 323.295.9372 • chc-inc.org