The Hispanic Health Council in Hartford has received an honorable mention in First Lady Michelle Obama’s national “Let’s Move! Video Challenge.”
The health council video presents the Hispanic Health Council’s comprehensive approach to the prevention of childhood obesity, through promoting healthy eating physical activity and access to healthy affordable food.
The video’s main feature is the early childhood component of the health council’s “PANA” Program, which is funded by USDA SNAP-Ed funds. PANA (which stands for “Programa Aprender Nutrición y Alimentación” or “Program for Learning about Food and Nutrition”) provides six informative nutrition and physical activity-related puppet shows in early childhood centers and school districts in seven of Connecticut’s poorest cities. The shows educate 30,000 children annually, provide related curriculum material to teachers and send educational material to parents.
According to information submitted with the health council’s application, teacher evaluation data indicate high satisfaction levels, and their comments indicate observed dietary behavior change after viewing the shows, including more fruits and vegetables consumed at lunch time. The Health Council is working with an academic partner on securing funding for a randomized controlled trial to evaluate PANA.
The First Lady’s Video Challenge encouraged faith-based and neighborhood organizations to create one-to-three minute videos highlighting the work they are doing to make their communities or congregations places of wellness. The challenge recognized efforts that promote healthy lifestyles for kids in three areas: encouraging nutritious eating through USDA’s MyPlate icon, increasing physical activity, and ensuring access to healthy, affordable foods. The winners and honorable mentions will be invited to Washington, D.C. for a Let’s Move! event.
The video also features the health council’s Breastfeeding: Heritage and Pride (BHP) Peer Counseling Program, which is partially funded by the USDA WIC Peer Counseling Program. Breastfeeding is important to childhood obesity prevention.
BHP peer counselors provide support among low-income women who experience lower breastfeeding rates. Peer counselors work in clinical and community settings, including clients’ homes.
BHP operates in partnership with Hartford Hospital and was replicated at Yale New Haven Hospital. BHP was evaluated through a randomized controlled trial and is included in the “CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions.”
The health council’s SNAP Outreach Program provides a culturally tailored approach to promoting SNAP enrollment. HHC’s six fotonovelas educate population subgroups about SNAP. Partnerships with community agencies facilitate application assistance. More than 1,500 individuals are assisted annually. Enrollment rates are above 85%, according to information supplied with the video’s contest submission.