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Weight Loss, Increased Endurance, and New Attitudes among Findings Released by The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families

Healthy Living Program
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December 11, 2012, New York — Findings released today by The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. indicate that community-based approaches to changing behavior and attitude regarding nutrition and fitness can be effective and can help reduce the rate of obesity among Latino families. Showing positive results, the organization’s Healthy Living Program, funded by Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation, offered free culturally-based nutrition and fitness programs to families in the Bronx, where residents are approximately 85 percent more likely to be obese than Manhattan residents (New York Times, March 14, 2010). The programs were offered at PS/MS 279 (Spring 2012), a Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council Head Start (Summer 2011), and their Eugene Smilovic Arms Senior Center (Summer 2011) with a total of 75 adults and 161 children participating.

Results included:

  • Of the 30 participants for whom data could be consistently collected, 100% increased their daily step total and participating adults lost an average of 2.58 pounds over the course of the program.
  • 70 of the 75 adult participants demonstrated consistently high levels of activity.
  • Average weekly steps of participants more than doubled in most cases and tripled in some.
  • Average weekly exercise time, a key CDC metric, increased dramatically.

Participants recognized which daily habits had negative effects and learned how to develop nutritional routines to continue their progress after the end of the program.

“These results show that with the right approach we can change the way people feel about nutrition and fitness, and put them on track to a healthier lifestyle, said Elba Montalvo, President/CEO of The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. “Our Healthy Living Program provides our Latino community with the information they need to work together as a family to build a healthy lifestyle, while not only respecting their cultures and traditions, but building upon them.”

"Empire is proud to be able to support a program that successfully promotes healthy lifestyles in a community that is responsive to such opportunities,” added Mark Wagar, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “Participants are spreading the word about what they have learned and how much they enjoyed themselves. As a result, the program has the potential to impact the health behaviors of friends and family, as well. “

“The program was very informative. I learned a lot about food portions and seasoning. I hope the program will return next season,” recounted Angelina George, a senior participant.

The CHCF Healthy Living Program incorporates guided physical activity, games, music, and discussion to teach key healthy living concepts. The curriculum builds upon cultural traditions and values such as traditional foods, use of Latino seasonings, and dancing, with the goal of helping participants re-evaluate their habits and guide them in incorporating healthy eating and physical activity into their daily lives through education and providing support and tools. In addition, adult participants are asked to log their exercise and diet practices to maintain cognizance about, and control over, their health.

Since 1982, The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. (CHCF) has been dedicated to combining education and advocacy to expand opportunities for children and families, and strengthen the voice of the Latino community. Believing that the most effective way to support Latino families is by building upon their existing strengths and fostering self-sufficiency, CHCF provides a number of programs and services to the community through Youth Development programs and an Early Care & Education Institute. Our policy work, grounded in our direct services, amplifies the voice of our communities on the local, state, and national policy levels around issues of child welfare, early care, education, juvenile justice, and the well-being of Latino children. Through our programs and policy work, CHCF is creating a shared prosperity for all Americans. For more information, please call (212) 206-1090 or visit our web site at

Through charitable grant making, the Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation and the Empire BlueCross Foundation, trade names of the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation L.L.C., independent licensees of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State, promotes Empire’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Empire serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. To learn more about the Foundation please visit


Healthy Living 2012

Healthy Living Program 2012

Healthy Living 2012

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