Under the HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) Initiative and funding from Paso del Norte Health Foundation, FEMAP develop Valoracion y Atencion Nutricional with the goal of contributing to the improvement of the health of disadvantaged children in Cd. Juarez, through nutritional assessments, nutrition education, the development of healthy habits, and promoting physical activity.
The program provides nutritional care and services more than 580 children from eight different schools in areas that manifest social vulnerability where they are evaluated by the latest established CDC standards. Upon each individual diagnosis, the nutritionists offer proper and customized treatments to improve these underserved children nutritional condition.
During August 2015 and January 2016, 92 children presented different types of nutritional deficiencies and malfunctions as obesity and undernourishment that required nutritional intervention and follow up. The parents of these children are notified of the findings, and upon the parents’ approval the program disburses vouchers for laboratory examination and also provides them with a supply of the proper nutritional supplements for their children.
With the general understanding that most habits and practices are developed at home, Valoracion Nutricional extended its outreach and education to parents to help them develop strategies that influence positively their children’s healthy behaviors. These workshops are necessary given that many parents possess limited resources and they have created a culture surrounded by the misconception that eating healthy is expensive and unnecessary.
Additionally, Valoracion Nutricional provides training workshops to about 50 parents and school cafeteria staff volunteers of the participating schools to establish proper food handling processes. These workshops allow the program to oversee the quality of the meals provided to the children, and ensures that children are receiving at least one healthy meal a day.
In coordination with the nutritional education, the children receive 30 minutes of physical activity in afterschool hours. These activities help children improve their flexibility, endurance, and physical strengthening. The routines are rotated on a monthly basis to offer a bit of variety for the children, but most importantly they are fully monitored by the nutritionist for progress and outcomes.
As an educational and interactive tool the 2015 HEAL: Valoracion Nutricional established the creation of the small individual orchard program. This allows children learn more about their fruit and vegetables by growing their own small crops while fomenting an organic environmentally responsible behavior.