WASHINGTON, March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF) are convening California leaders to develop critically needed strategies to reduce obesity of young Hispanic children, the next generation of Americans. The nation's schools, child care programs, and public health agencies have been developing programs to help change behaviors to reduce obesity since the mid-2000s when obesity tripled in the US. In 2012, the "Weight of the Nation" Report from the Institute of Medicine urged all stakeholders to build more comprehensive programs that target our most vulnerable communities.
"Last week, at the First Lady's 3rd Anniversary Conference, I joined the AMA, AAFP, AAP and other leaders on stage to announce a new effort to build e-medical records to include nutrition and physical exercise counseling for pediatricians, the first to teach our Latino parents about overweight kids," said Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association, "and with healthcare reform, Hispanic physicians will be educating more families on what to do. We look forward to helping our policymakers and leaders build health programs that are culturally competent to meet this demand."
Many Americans are now more aware of the need for exercise and eating more healthy, but most are unaware of new Federal and State policies that can help them – school meals' guidelines are now based on "My Plate," and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created "Covered California" – a health insurance marketplace, and expanded Medicaid so more Americans have affordable health insurance with obesity counseling for the first time.
To address these issues, the NHMA and its foundation are inviting 100 key government, corporate, media, schools and community leaders to meet at the "Early Childhood Obesity Hispanic Leadership Summit" at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sacramento, California from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm on March 18th. Speakers invited include Senator Ricardo Lara, Chairman, California Latino Caucus, Senator Ed Hernandez, Chairman, Health Committee. Confirmed speakers are Assemblyman Richard Pan, Chairman, Health Committee, Capt. Kelly Acton, MD, Deputy Regional Health Administrator, Region IX, US Department of Health and Human Services, Carol Chase Huegli, MS, RD, Associate Director, Nutrition Services Division, CA Department of Education, Ignacio Romero, Marketing Manager, Cancer Prevention & Nutrition Section, CA Department of Public Health, Dr. George Flores, Program Officer, The California Endowment, Dr. Elena Rios, President, NHMA/NHHF.
The purpose of the summit is to discuss the barriers of current programs and strategies for future programs in education and in healthcare that impact the health of Hispanics in early childhood; and build consensus on the Federal/State programs and policies that can be enhanced to decrease Hispanic early childhood obesity. The first Summit occurred in New York City last month. NHMA will announce the policy and program recommendations at the NHMA Annual Conference Meeting with the US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, on April 27th in Washington, DC. The Summit is being funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The California Endowment.
Established in 1994 in Washington, DC, the NHMA and NHHF have the mission to improve the health of Hispanics and other underserved. NHMA represents over 45,000 Hispanic physicians and advocates for culturally competent Federal and State health policies. For more information see www.nhmamd.org.
SOURCE National Hispanic Health Foundation