Transforming the Family Dinner Table One Recipe at a Time
By Arlington Public Library
Posted on March 13, 2015, March 13, 2015

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thirty-four percent of Hispanics in Texas are considered overweight or obese. Children ages 15 and under are the highest amongst all obese groups, leading to higher risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure as they mature into adults.

Arlington Reads, a program of the Arlington Public Library, recently partnered with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to offer "Comidas Saludables, Familias Saludables " (Healthy Food, Healthy Families), a Spanish language health literacy program designed to educate limited-resource families about basic nutrition concepts, food safety, budgeting of food dollars, and tips on how to prepare and cook healthy meals at home.

Myra Martinez, a stay-at-home mother of three and class participant, feels that many members of the Hispanic community do not know how to interpret food nutrition labels. She says her two oldest children love to jump rope and often encourage her and her husband to jump rope with them. Now that she has learned how to read food nutrition labels because of her participation in the program, Myra will be able to purchase and prepare the foods her family needs to stay healthy and active.

For Hilda Estrada, a stay-at-home mother of a rambunctious three year old son, the "Comidas Saludables, Familias Saludables " program equipped her with the knowledge and guidance she needs as an adult who suffers from diabetes. Hilda learned how to reduce the amount of sodium and sugars she consumes and discovered that for her growing son she can buy affordable fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with the same beneficial calcium as milk.

After completing a series of seven weekly classes taught by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Community Educator, Alba Serrano, students were awarded with Certificates of Completion in addition to receiving a reusable shopping bag filled with healthy recipes and easy-to-use kitchen tools.

The program graduates can confidently manage their family's health and nutrition thanks to the valuable skills they learned in the "Comidas Saludables, Familias Saludables " program. Arlington Reads continues to develop a variety of free to low-cost quality Spanish language literacy programs for members of the local community.

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