Latino millennials in Los Angeles County now have a free mobile resource to help them live healthier lives.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) announced the launch of “Familia,” a new bilingual text message program that provides health information and resources in English and Spanish for the Latino community. 

“Our goal is to improve the health of young Latinos in Los Angeles County by providing useful tips direct to their cell phones,” said Cynthia Harding, MPH, Interim Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “‘Famila’ is a free, innovative text and online program designed specifically for Latino young adults, ages 18-29, who make up over half of the Latino population in LA County.”

“Familia” focuses on seven wellness strategies which contribute to healthier lifestyles: Family Planning, Active Living, Maintaining a Healthy Weight, Improving Nutrition, Less Stress, Including Men and Women, and Addressing Abuse. 

To join, subscribers text “LAFAMILIA” to the number 55000, and choose to receive messages in English or Spanish. Over three months, subscribers will receive weekly texts with tips related to one of the seven topics, plus a link to Public Health’s website for more information, apps, blogs, and videos. 

Latinos comprise nearly half of the 10.3 million inhabitants in Los Angeles County, and over half (54 percent) of the Latino population are ages 18-29. Millennials comprise the highest users of text messaging. This preconception health campaign in Los Angeles County represents an opportunity to educate and improve health outcomes for Latino young adults.

In Los Angeles County, 60 percent of births are to Latinos – 57 percent of which are unplanned. 

Texting is an effective means of delivering health information. Recent studies show that 97 percent of Americans of reproductive age own a cell phone, and 72 percent looked online for health information within the past year. According to the Pew Institute, Latinos, no matter their socio-economic status, are the highest text users of all ethnicities in the U.S.

“Familia” was developed by a team of health care professionals with input and testing by the target audience, and is funded by a grant from the National Preconception Health and Healthcare Initiative and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

“Familia” is an initiative of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health partnering with other county departments and public agencies, community-based organizations, and health care providers to improve the health of young Latinos.

Visit the Public Health website for more information.