March is National Nutrition Month. It is also the month that National Health Foundation is beginning to offer nutrition education classes in Historic South Los Angeles. As part of the Champions for Change Healthy Communities Initiative grant received from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, NHF will be conducting 30 minute to 1 hour long nutrition education classes at schools in the community with students and parents. Led by our trained and expert staff, these classes are intended to educate South LA residents about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. Classes will cover topics such as the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines, the importance of drinking water, reading and understanding food labels, shopping for healthy food on a budget and everyday activities that can help maintain weight and fend off disease.
These classes are one part of the healthy story that is emerging from within South LA. Our Health Academy students have worked with two, and are currently assessing 8, local food markets to see how they advertise and sell healthy options. They collaborate with store owners to improve the visibility of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and offer help with marketing these options to the community. Their efforts are working! More healthy foods are visible to consumers and one market owner has even changed his food procurement process to receive healthy food from a local produce distributor, making these healthy options more available and cheaper to the community.
Together, these two approaches are intended to tackle the social determinant of health that is access to healthy and nutritious food. South LA is considered a food desert with few healthy food options available. Furthermore, food insecurity is an issue that many in the community face. The nutrition education classes are being offered with the expectation of shifting the trend of obesity and heart disease in the community. By reinforcing the positive changes happening in South LA, including the availability of fresh produce at corner markets, we will ensure that every individual and every family has the access to the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and live their best, healthiest life.