197492 La Vida Sana, La Vida Feliz – An innovative wellness program for Latinas

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 10:45 AM

Erica Plaisier, MS , Erie Family Health Center, Chicago, IL
Amy Valukas, MPH , Erie Family Health Center, Chicago, IL
In the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, 35 percent of adults are overweight, exceeding the national average of 24 percent. Only 33 percent of adult females in Humboldt Park are moderately active and 30 percent of residents do not understand nutrition guidelines. In response to this crisis, a Federally Qualified Community Health Center in Chicago and a grassroots community organization collaboratively developed the La Vida Sana, La Vida Feliz (Healthy Life, Happy Life) program to respond to this community's needs.

The program's objective is to promote a healthy weight in Latinas who face several barriers to weight loss such as access to healthy foods, time, economic resources, family commitments and motivation. The program was specifically designed to address such issues. The goals are to reduce the BMI, cholesterol, waist and blood pressure of participants, increase nutrition and fitness knowledge, provide access to healthy foods and activities and provide motivational support. Project activities are conducted by Promotoras de Salud to ensure interventions are culturally competent. Throughout eight sessions women learn about nutrition, exercise and stress management, participate in discussions about body image and depression and set bi-weekly goals for themselves. Participants receive calendars of free healthy activities offered by program partners, facilitating access to physical activities and healthy food resources.

Pre- and post-tests measure knowledge and behavior change, cholesterol and self-efficacy. Weight, waist and blood pressure measurements are taken at three points and three- and six-month follow-up is performed. Since 2007 over 400 women have participated in this program.

Learning Objectives:
1. List benefits of collaborating to create a community-based healthy lifestyle program. 2. Identify methods of creating a culturally and linguistically healthy lifestyle program. 3. Identify potential barriers to participation in a healthy lifestyle program and strategies for overcoming these barriers.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Erica Plaisier, MS, earned her degree in Exercise Science from Calvin College and her Masters in Health and Exercise Studies from Miami University. Her Master’s concentration is in Health Appraisal and Enhancement. She currently is employed with Erie Family Health Center as the coordinator of the Healthy Women project. This program provides nutrition, exercise and wellness education to Latinas in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. Prior to Erie, Erica worked for several public health agencies and institutions in the areas of research, advocacy and health promotion.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.