The Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) was awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, with funding from the California Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Agriculture, to address obesity in the San Fernando Valley.

The grant will support the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations by providing nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray, and shop. 

Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, champions in communities throughout the County will be identified to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physically active in a variety of settings, including early childcare centers, schools, faith-based organizations, corner stores, parks, worksites, and cities.

According to the LA County: A Cities and Communities Health Report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top ten leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

The obesity epidemic continues to impact virtually all population groups.

In the City of San Fernando, 27.4 percent of children and 28.5 percent of adults are considered obese. Same of about 27.6 percent of children and 24.9 percent of adults in Los Angeles City Council District 6, and 29.1 percent of children and 26.1 percent of adults in District 7. 

For Latinos in the Los Angeles county, the situation is much worse. They have the highest obesity rate for adults at 29.4 percent and the second highest for school-aged children at 27.5 percent. 

“Reducing obesity is a priority of Public Health and a key objective of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer of Los Angeles County. “By investing in our communities and the people that we serve, we are hopeful that we can make impactful, long-lasting changes for better health outcomes.” 

“NEVHC is pleased to be a part of this County-wide initiative, as we are uniquely positioned to reach children and families living in communities that require more economic, educational and medical assistance,” explained Kimberly Wyard, NEVHC CEO. “We are working toward making notable changes in assisting and educating our patients about making healthier food choices as well as identifying ways to integrate physical activity into the day to improve the overall health for families in the San Fernando Valley.”