Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Local Org. Works With Community to Fight Obesity

A Kick-Off event was held on March 3rd at Dr. Mario Ramirez Elementary to launch off a special project made possible by a grant issued by Department State Health Services and Texas AgriLife Extension Service.  The goal of the grant is to produce a sustainable effective model of obesity prevention in Texas through the use of schools as community access points to fresh fruits and vegetables and safe places for free physical activity.

Spearheading the project is Ms. Adela Trigo – principal and Lillian Maldonado site coordinator along with a team of collaborators and task force committee members made up of faculty, local business representative and parents.  Staff member from DSHS is Mauro Ruiz, Family Health Services and Dora Garza.  Texas AgriLife Agents serving on the team include Yolanda Morado, CEA-FCS and Rolando Zamora, CEP-EA-AgNR.
The Health Fair/Kick off event titled “Spring into Health” was chaired by Mrs. Emiliana Guerra – School Child Nutrition Program Assistant Food Service Director/Dietitian.  A total of 14 exhibitors provided information for parents and students on nutrition, physical fitness, health, safety, and plenty of tasting booths full of nutritious food.  Providing an exhibit on fresh fruits and vegetables was the Better Living for Texas Program Assistants Adela Mancha and Irma Ortiz.

Mrs. Patsy Ramirez Food Service Director worked together with her former co-worker Ruben Pena Sales representative from Key impact in providing a delicious layout of foods for tasting such as sweet potato strips, tomato soup, veggie pizzas and breakfast fruit bars.

The grant will be on-going till the fall of next year and various sustainable projects are planned such as developing the walking track, cooking healthy food demonstrations and classes, a garden and farmers market, and physical activity programs.  Zumba classes are currently taking place open to parents and residents who have students attending Dr. Mario Ramirez Elementary.  Mr. Sixto Flores is also heading up the 75 mile fitness club for students and parents.  Families are encouraged to sign up.

Earlier studies conducted in Starr County established the importance to educate families on how critical it is to eat healthy and exercise.  This is a goal that potentially has life saving implications for our families.

Picture cutline: Adela Trigo principal is flocked by school staff, parents and committee members working on implementing the Communities Putting Prevention to Work project at Dr. Mario Ramirez Elementary.

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