Community Health Workers  and Nutrition

Through MHP Salud’s Healthy Living initiative, Community Health Workers provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) to help participants make improvements in diet and exercise and to promote healthy weight among families.

The ability to live a healthy life is significantly impacted by the availability and cost of fresh and nutritious food, and access to resources that promote physical activity. For many Hispanics in the U.S., a healthy lifestyle is challenged by underlying social, economic, and environmental factors such as language barriers, unemployment, and access to resources.1 For example, Hispanics have a higher poverty rate than the rest of the nation. They are also more likely to experience food insecurity than any other group in the U.S.2  

Many low-income Hispanics live in communities where there is limited access to full-service supermarkets or grocery stores that sell fresh and nutritious foods.3 In fact, past studies show that Hispanics had one-third the access to chain supermarkets as non-Hispanics.4 These conditions can ultimately result in the overconsumption of unhealthy foods and the underconsumption of healthy foods.

From 2015-2017, the prevalence of obesity among Hispanics was 30% or higher in over half of U.S. States.Obesity among Hispanic/Latino children ages 2–5 years old is 4 times higher than their non-Hispanic White counterparts.5 And among Hispanic American women, 78.8% are overweight or obese.6

Obesity among Hispanic/Latino children ages 2–5 years old is 4 times higher than their non-Hispanic White counterparts.

Children that particpated in our health education sessions increased their fruit intake by 26.4% and vegetable intake by an astounding 65.7%

Through MHP Salud’s Healthy Living initiative, Community Health Workers (CHWs) provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) to help participants make improvements in diet and exercise and to promote healthy weight among families.

SNAP-ED is delivered by CHWs who possess the appropriate cultural knowledge and training to provide education on healthy nutrition, demonstrate how individuals can live active lifestyles in their own communities and stress the importance of reduced screen time. Importantly, this information is delivered in English and Spanish. Parents and caregivers of children 8 to 13 years of age who qualify for SNAP benefits receive these services in group sessions offered at multiple locations including schools, churches, parks, community centers, and other popular community locations.

Outcomes

The knowledge that families receive in these sessions helps to improve attitudes around healthy living and has a lasting impact on changing health behaviors. Year after year, participants consistently report an increase in their fruit and vegetable intake after completion of the program. Most recently in 2019, adults who participated in the CHW-led classes increased their fruit intake by 30.6% and vegetable intake by 32.8%. And children increased their fruit intake by 26.4% and vegetable intake by an astounding 65.7%. The benefits do not end with changes in nutrition: families additionally reported an increase in the amount of physical activity they do in their own homes.

Ultimately, participants in our Healthy Living initiative leave feeling empowered to make changes to habits so that they can live healthier lives.

Want more information on this program? Please contact us at info@mhpsalud.org

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About MHP Salud 

MHP Salud has over thirty years of experience implementing CHW programs and training organizations looking to start and/or strengthen their own CHW programs. For more information about MHP Salud, our services, and how we can help you, please email us at info@mhpsalud.org

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