Reporting Margie Shafer
CONCORD (KCBS) – Kaiser Permanente has awarded a $1 million, three-year grant to Monument Corridor elementary schools in Concord in an effort to help fight obesity.
Monument Corridor is a densely populated, 3.2 mile area. Overweight and obesity rates at local elementary schools range from 36% to 61%.
Executive Director of Monument Community Partnership, Bryan Balch, said the low income area is home to 38,000 residents.
KCBS’ Margie Shafer:
“We have twice the unemployment rate as the rest of the county. We have a low education, a 70% immigrant population, and half of those are Latino and about half of them speak to English,” Balch said.
Tackling obesity in the area will be done in a number of ways.
Local officials hope to decrease caloric intake, increase the consumption of fruits and vegetable and increase physical activity both in the community and at school.
Balch said there also will be outreach to area restaurants to encourage them to change their ingredients and include more information on their menus.
Adriana Deleon, originally from Mexico, has lived in Concord for 18 years.
She said she’s taken advantage of nutrition classes.
“It’s very important to share and teach the people healthy food and doing exercise.”
Deleon, who is trying to encourage her family to exercise and change their diet, said her 12-year-old daughter enjoys folkloric dance and her 9-year-old son is involved with kickboxing.
“My family is very active and me too. I make time with my children to ride bikes,” she said.
In fact, there has been a focused effort in the Monument Community to incorporate bike paths in the area.
Kaiser’s Healthy Eating Active Living Coordinator Kathy Renfro said if you drive down Monument and look at the businesses you see all the open fields and empty lots.
“That’s just open space, wasted space,” she said.
“And what can we do to redesign those to be able to physical activity there?”
Another approach to tackling obesity will be incorporating community and school gardens into the landscape
Monument’s grant is one of several awarded across Northern California.
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