CINCINNATI -- As part of a press conference held today at its 82nd Annual National Convention, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), highlighted its commitment to improving health among the U.S. Hispanic population.
One initiative, Latinos Living Healthy, is aimed at reducing childhood obesity among vulnerable populations. Spearheaded by LULAC and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it seeks to enable all children to have access to nutrition information, foods that are healthy and affordable and access to safe spaces where they can engage in physical exercise.
America's health challenges include dramatic increases in diabetes, obesity, heart ailments and other diseases driven by sedentary lifestyles, obesity and poor nutrition.
Last week, Harvard University and Imperial College in London announced that the global incidence of diabetes has doubled since 1980. Furthermore, the United States ranks as the country with the highest body mass indexes which contribute to a number of disease states.
LULAC and Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, who is speaking at the convention today, worked hand in hand to pass the Affordable Care Act which will benefit millions of Hispanic families.
"Hispanic health is often shaped by factors such as language and cultural barriers, lack of access to preventive care, and the lack of health insurance," remarked Margaret Moran, LULAC President. "Through proper relevant health care outreach and programming, we can make a difference."
LULAC hopes to reach 100,000 Latinos through health festivals, starting with one this fall in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The festivals will provide free health screenings, healthy foods and sports competitions as well as salsa aerobics.
At the same time, the National Park Service launched its Healthy Parks initiatives. This program, announced at the LULAC convention, furthers the parks' century-long commitment to preserving the environment for responsible public access to our nation's beautiful parks and recreation facilities.
Additionally, Lisa Pino, deputy administrator for USDA food and nutrition spoke about her agency's efforts to ensure children have adequate access to healthy meals.
Studies suggest that lack of health insurance, language, and citizenship are key barriers that prevent many Hispanics from accessing health services and from receiving quality health care. It is significant to note that Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the United States.