Funding will help county fight obesity and promote healthy lifes

Imperial Valley

Funding will help county fight obesity and promote healthy lifestyle

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EL CENTRO, CALIF. (13 On Your Side) - Spreading awareness about obesity and a healthy lifestyle is a top priority for the Imperial County Public Health Department.

Thanks to a grant of more than $500,000, the department is continuing with their Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Program.

Officials say factors such as the environment we live in and low income contribute to the high obesity rates and low nutritious food consumption in the Valley. This program aims to help tackle those problems.

"We're about 40% - of our children who are either overweight or obese."

According to Luce Filiatrault, Public Health Nutritionist with the Imperial County Public Health Department, high obesity rates are linked to the county's poverty level.

"About 78% of our adult population is overweight or obese," says Filiatrault. But a newly awarded $580,000 grant will help county officials fight obesity.

"We have a county nutrition action plan that we've developed in the past year," says Filiatrault  "so now we want to continue to implement that plan and have more players helping us."

One key player to improve that action plan is the Imperial Valley Food Bank.

"We have too much obesity, we have too many cases of type 2 diabetes," says executive director Sara Griffen.

Griffen says the food bank will use its share of $230,000 to help distribute nutritional food.

Christina DeRoulhac, Nutrition Education Program Manager at the food bank says, "It's actually really cool because when we distribute food we'll actually be giving out very relevant nutrition education."

DeRoulhac says the goal is to change eating habits and its starts by targeting school children.

They can then teach their parents how to cook meals that are inexpensive yet nutritious.  

"they're just thinking about what they are going to do today. Not their overall health. But I'm hoping through our energy and our enthusiasm we can show them and convince them this is something worthwhile paying attention to."

The Imperial Valley Food Bank expects to reach out to members in the community to asses their food interests and needs next month. @