YMCA beginning Salsa, Sabor y Salud programWORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area YMCA was recently chosen by an independent panel of judges as one of three finalists for Minnesota Energy Resources’ “It’s Worth the Energy” grant opportunity.
By: Ryan Seykora, YMCA Health and Fitness Director, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Area YMCA was recently chosen by an independent panel of judges as one of three finalists for Minnesota Energy Resources’ “It’s Worth the Energy” grant opportunity.
Non-profits located and operating in the Minnesota Energy Resources’ service area were invited to submit project proposals outlining how they would use the grant money to better the community in one of the following three areas: Environment, community or human services.
Through a partnership with Kraft Foods Foundation, Salsa, Sabor y Salud (Food, Fun and Fitness) was developed by National Latino Children’s Institute (NLCI). Since 2002, more than 32,000 Hispanic/Latino individuals have participated in the Salsa, Sabor y Salud program. The collaboration with the YMCA will now help to expand the program through its nationwide network so more families across the nation can develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Hispanic/Latino children are among the most at-risk with the highest overweight and lowest fitness rates of any group of children. The Center for Disease Control reports the prevalence of obesity in Mexican-American boys has grown nearly 27 percent since 1994, and nearly 17 percent for Mexican-American girls.
Currently, the American Medical Association reports 38.2 percent of Hispanic/Latino children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese compared with 31.7 percent of all children those ages.
While the Hispanic/Latino population in our community is increasing, the obesity rate of this group is also rising. The Worthington Area YMCA is working to address health disparities by focusing on the health and well-being of Hispanic/Latino individuals and families. This will be done by implementing and supporting appropriate, culturally-sensitive approaches to engaging and supporting individuals and families in their pursuit of health and well-being.
Salsa, Sabor y Salud has helped thousands of Hispanic/Latino people make healthy choices and increase their activity levels, and by offering this program, our YMCA can reach out to even more children and families in an effort to impact obesity rates.
Salsa, Sabor y Salud is a creative, comprehensive prevention, education and culturally-grounded curriculum. The eight-session program assists Hispanic/Latino families with children 12 and under to make healthy choices for eating and incorporate activity into their daily lives, getting the whole family involved. It is based on four messages:
l Eat from all food groups every day
l Be sensible about portions
l Be physically active every day
l Take small steps for success
In 2005, the University of Illinois conducted an evaluation of the Salsa, Sabor y Salud program and the results were extremely positive.
For example, 93 percent of the participants surveyed said they were eating more nutritious meals and participants increased the number of days they were exercising from 2 to 3.5. The program also received the President’s Circle Award for Nutrition Education from the American Dietetics’ Association in 2007.
Salsa, Sabor y Salud is designed to serve families. Activities geared toward youth are central to the curriculum and are intended to encourage the healthy development of youth.
The goal of the program is to raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition, increase levels of physical activity and encourage healthy lifestyle habits. Salsa, Sabor y Salud targets Hispanic/Latino individuals. While Hispanic/Latino children are disproportionally impacted by obesity, they are simultaneously increasing as demographic within the United States.
The Worthington Area YMCA is asking for your help. By ‘liking’ Minnesota Energy Resources Facebook page, you can vote for our organization once per day until Thursday, Oct. 20 and the winners will be posted on the Minnesota Energy Resources’ page Friday, Oct. 21.
Please vote for the Worthington Area YMCA in the “It’s Worth The Energy” grant opportunity!
We are named one of three finalists; the Worthington Area YMCA has the opportunity to win up to $3,000 in grant money to support Salsa Sabor y Salud so we can provide this opportunity to members of our community.
We invite you to learn more about our organization by visiting www.ymcaworthington.org. You may also view details of our proposed project by visiting Minnesota Energy Resource’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/minnesotaenergyresources) page.