LULAC Initiative Will Help the Latino Community Get Healthy

With Support from the Walmart Foundation, LULAC Will Expand Its Health Initiatives That Address Health Disparities in the Latino Community

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the goal of reversing the rate at which Latinos are becoming obese or overweight, LULAC today announced a community health education initiative focused on healthy food options, the importance of physical activity and raising the awareness of the health disparities faced by Latinos. The initiative Latinos Living Healthy: Salud Es Vida is a series of workshops, health fairs and a public education component that will take place over the next year. The program is being launched with the support of a $500,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

"Our communities increasingly suffer from obesity-related chronic diseases.  The real option of making healthy choices should not be afforded only to the affluent sectors of our society but to all families regardless of socioeconomic background," said Brent Wilkes, LULAC national executive director.  "The obesity epidemic in this country is predominately among the underserved and minority communities.  This is no random act – an alarming amount of people in low income communities cannot afford healthier food options, lack knowledge about nutritious foods, and often live in rural areas that don't have access to fresh fruits and vegetables."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics are 16% (50.5 million people) of the total U.S. population, the fastest growing and largest minority group with the highest number of children under the age of 18 years. Per the Office of Minority Health, one of the most pressing issues affecting this growing segment of the population is health; disparities in access, quality of service, and burden of chronic and infectious diseases. The epidemic isn't only focused on adults.  Among Latinos, the impact of the epidemic is disproportionate as almost 43 percent of Mexican-American children are obese or overweight, compared with 37 percent of white children.  Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicates that 1 in 3 children in the U.S. are obese or overweight.

The LULAC Initiative, Latinos Living Healthy: Salud Es Vida, is designed to reach Latinos across the United States and Puerto Rico.  Through this initiative and the partnership with the Walmart Foundation, LULAC will implement a comprehensive approach that will educate the Latino community and expand on its community health education component to raise awareness around today's healthy food options.

  • Health Festivals: LULAC will host two health fairs over the next year to educate the community on healthy living.   The first will be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 22nd, 2011, with another health festival early next year.  
  • Workshops: LULAC will conduct three health education workshops in New York City, Los Angeles and San Antonio and one workshop at the 2012 LULAC National Convention in Orlando.
  • Public Education:  through webinars, LULAC News, social media, LULAC e-members and LULAC's 900 councils and 55 community tech center outreach, LULAC will bring the workshop and health fairs to  audiences across the nation.

"We're committed to providing our customers with healthier and more affordable food options because no family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford," said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart. "Walmart believes that giving customers healthier food options and supporting programs that give people the skills and knowledge to make healthier food choices is critical to healthy eating in America and the Hispanic community."

About LULAC: The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and largest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs

About Walmart: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at over 9,700 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs 2.1 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.

SOURCE League of United Latin American Citizens



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