On Saturday, June 27, 2009, Organizing for Connecticut (OFC) in support of Organizing for America (OFA), will be one of many organizations around the country who are hosting community service events designed to educate the public on the importance of health care reform, and to take responsibility for one’s own health. In support of President Obama’s prevention/nutrition and wellness approach to health care reform, OFC has joined with OFA, Goya Foods and the Hispanic Health Council to host a nutrition and wellness fair at La Plaza Del Mercado Market, 704 Park Street (corner of Babcock and Park Streets) Hartford, from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
“This is the first of several health care service events being planned that will take place over the next 81 days,” stated Thea Montanez, OFC state health care coordinator. “Health care reform is an important issue for all Americans, especially for the 32% of the Latino community under the age of 65 that are currently uninsured.”
Montanez stated that she chose the Hispanic community to launch this effort because it is the largest ethnic community in Connecticut. “Ethnic communities, whether black or brown, often have the highest rates of disease associated with diet and life style. We love rich foods that are high in calories, fat/transfats and sodium.” Montanez stated. She added that, “Studies have found this is especially true among Latina women. The leading cause of death for Latina women is heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Research studies have shown that a balanced diet and regular exercise can prevent many health related issues, including heart disease and cancer.”
Goya Foods, Co-Sponsor, will be providing free samples of its low sodium and organic food products. Rice and beans is a staple of the Hispanic diet. The company now offers organic low sodium beans, organic rice, Adobo Light and other food items. Goya Foods is also featuring several light and healthy recipes on it’s web site. Founded in 1936 by Don Prudencio Unanue and his wife Carolina, the Goya story is as much about the importance of family as it is about achieving the American dream. Goya was started in a small storefront in Lower Manhattan, New York, catering to local Hispanic families by distributing Spanish foods such as olives, olive oil and sardines. Driven by the belief that there was a growing consumer market for high-quality, fresh-tasting, Latino foods, the Unanues infused their personal philosophy throughout the company. This commitment to excellence is the cornerstone of Goya’s popular credo, “If it’s Goya, it has to be good”. The result of this simple, yet deeply resonant pledge is the evolution of Goya Foods into a leader in the Latin American food industry, with operations spanning the globe. By providing traditional Latino foods that are produced organically and low in sodium content, consumers can enjoy familiar foods that promote a healthy diet.
The Hispanic Health Council (HHC), also a Co-Sponsor, will be providing tips and valuable information on exercise and diet, as well as services available in the community. Established in 1978 in response to the health care crisis in the Puerto Rican community, HHC is a community-based, non-profit organization located in Hartford. HHC integrates public advocacy, high-level community-based research and research-based service to provide outstanding care to the poor and underserved. To carry out this charge, the organization has established six Centers of Excellence in Hartford: Center for Community Health Research, Center for Risk Reduction, Center for Youth and Families, Center for Women and Children, Center for Community Nutrition, and Center for Creative Marketing and Design.
The President’s health care initiative is critical for all Americans. Many underserved communities suffer from a lack of access to quality, affordable health care. In Connecticut, although the Latino community comprises only nine percent (9%) of the state’s population, this community makes up 40% of the uninsured in Connecticut. In addition, fifty-seven percent (57%) of the state’s Latino population are obese. When compared to non-Latino whites in the state, Connecticut Latinos have a sixty percent (60%) higher mortality rate due to diabetes. Each year the state loses approximately $1.64 billion as a result of preventable illness among the uninsured. (See A Profile OF
Latino Health in Connecticut: The Case for Change in Policy & Practice, by HHC and Latino Policy Inst.)
President Obama and Mrs. Obama have reached out to all Americans to engage in healthier diets and lifestyles by launching the National Health Care Day of Service. The First Lady’s Victory Garden and her efforts to educate youth to eat healthy have inspired Montanez to do the same in Connecticut starting with her own community. While this event focuses on the Latino community, all are welcome to come and get inspired to engage in a healthier diet and exercise.
This event is free and is open to the general public for all ages.
Click here to sign up for this event, as well as get a list of neighbors to call to come out and enjoy an afternoon of healthy food, fun and family.