Sunday, November 20, 2011

¿Se puede ser boricua y comer bien?

José Acosta/EDLP | 2011-11-18 | El Diario NY

NUEVA YORK — La primera vez que el chef Denis Williams le cocinó a los estudiantes de la escuela Marc Academy de El Bronx, muchos de ellos, al ver la comida, le dijeron: "Yo no como eso".

El chef les preguntó la razón y todos respondieron: "Porque mi mamá no me da eso en casa".

Williams, quien lleva 35 años como chef del programa culinario de South Bronx Job Corps, dijo que al evaluar a aquellos estudiantes comprendió que primero hay que convencer a los padres de preparar comidas saludables antes que convencer a los niños.

Y, según explicó el maestro de cocina, "se puede mantener el terreno, pero cambiando de juego", queriendo significar que los latinos pueden seguir comiendo su comida tradicional (pernil asado, arroz con guadules, plátanos fritos), pero preparándola de un modo saludable.

Durante un acto de celebración de la Herencia Puertorriqueña, llamado: "¿Podemos ser puertorriqueños y comer saludable?, encabezado por el senador estatal Gustavo Rivera y realizado en la Marc Academy, el chef dio una demostración a un grupo de madres de escuela de que se pueden preparar los mismos sabrosos platos tradicionales, pero con menos grasa y más verduras.

"Por ejemplo, en vez de hornear un pernil con la enorme cantidad de grasa que tiene, podemos cocinarlo sin el cuero, que contiene toda la grasa, y esta grasa podemos sustituirla por los sabores, marinándolo por un par de días con cilantro, ajo, culantro, y quedará igual de sabroso", dijo Williams. "Debemos cocinar menos cantidad de arroz, completándola con verduras, de un modo que ni los niños van a saber que la verdura está en el arroz", señaló.

El senador estatal Gustavo Rivera —quien lanzó este año la Iniciativa de Salud El Bronx CAN (Cambiar Actitudes Ahora) para combatir la obesidad y quien se puso como ejemplo, cambió sus hábitos alimenticios y bajó 22 libras de peso—, dijo que "se pueden hacer celebraciones comiendo saludable".

"Vamos a demostrar que podemos preparar la misma comida a la que estamos acostumbrados, pero tomando unas decisiones en la preparación que la hacen más saludables, sin tanta grasa, menos sal y menos azúcar", dijo Rivera. "Y eso es lo que queremos mostrarles a las madres, a fin de que lo hagan en casa", agregó.

Rivera dijo que El Bronx es el condado menos saludable en el estado de Nueva York, y solamente en el distrito 33 que él representa, el índice de obesidad está en 68%, "que es extremadamente alto".

La escuela Marc Academy tiene una población escolar de 106 niños de 4 a 5 años de edad y 60 de 5 a 12 años, con un 56% latino. La directora, Ana York, dijo que hay un problema de obesidad en El Bronx "y la mejor manera de celebrar nuestra cultura es cuidándonos a nosotros mismos".

"La mayoría de personas que, debido a la obesidad, está padeciendo de diabetes y enfermedades del corazón es latina", dijo York. "Yo soy puertorriqueña y me gusta la comida de mi país, y no se trata de cambiar el tipo de comida sino el modo en que la preparamos para mejorar la salud", agregó.

Dos de las madres que participaron en la celebración y además de disfrutar la comida aprendieron a prepararla de manera más saludable, fueron Gladys Paredes y Alondra Fuentes.

"A mi hijo Dexter Wilson, de 4 años, que está en el parvulario de la Marc Academy, le encanta el arroz pero le gustan las verduras, de modo que lo que puedo mejorar en mi casa es cocinar con menos grasa y comer porciones más pequeñas", dijo Paredes.

Fuentes dijo que su hijo Aidan López, de 4 años, quien también está en el parvulario de la Marc Academy, le encanta comer a todas horas y para mantenerlo a raya hay que aguantarle la cuchara.

"A mí me interesa el tema de cocinar comida más saludable en casa, porque no quiero que mis hijos crezcan obesos y con problemas de salud", dijo Fuentes.

Podemos preparar la comida a la que estamos acostumbrados, pero sin tanta grasa, menos sal y menos azúcar’.
— Senador Gustavo Rivera

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rivera's health initiative headed to schools and families

By Brendan McHugh – Bronx Press Politics

As the first Bronx CAN Health Initiative winds down, state Senator Gustavo Rivera and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. spent Monday kicking off the new family-oriented initiative in Bronx schools.

Standing for ‘Changing Attitudes Now,’ the CAN initiative encourages Bronxites to eat healthier and work out more. Rivera has joined with Diaz, Montefiore Medical Center and various community groups throughout the Bronx, encouraging children and adults alike to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

"For the last few months, the Bronx CAN Health Initiative has inspired Bronxites to take responsibility over their own health and make changes to their habits in order to lead longer and healthier lives," Rivera said.

Rivera and Diaz attended a celebration of National Food Day on Monday, Oct. 24 at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, one of several schools in the Bronx that have adopted the Bronx CAN Family Health Challenge.

Jump below for the full story, including a picture of Rivera from June and information about a campaign the NYC health department started today.

The family challenge is an eight-week initiative that asks families and children to make one or two changes every week. It starts off with only drinking milk or water for a week rather than soda or juice and over the next seven weeks, projects range from eating one piece of fruit per day to eating smaller portions to exercising 30 minutes per day.

The guidebook created will reach more than 50 public schools through Montefiore’s school-based health clinics.

"Given that issues of obesity, heart disease and diabetes start with the formation of bad health habits at a young age, I am excited that the Bronx CAN Health Initiative is continuing in Bronx schools,” Rivera said. “It is my hope that the students and families who take on this 8-week challenge will continue to incorporate the lessons they learned as part of the Family Health Challenge into their daily lives."

Rivera weighed in at 299 lbs. in June, and his CAN challenge goal was to lose 15 to 20 lbs. by the end of October. At the event Monday he weighed himself in front of hundreds of teenage girls and came in at 283 lbs.; 16 lbs. down from June.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sen. Rivera and Borough President Diaz celebrate National Food Day

Bronx Free Press

New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. attended a celebration of National Food Day on Mon., Oct. 24th at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, which is one of several schools in the Bronx that have adopted the Bronx CAN Family Health Challenge.

The Family Health Challenge and the corresponding guidebook that is attached were created through a partnership between SEIU-CIR (SEIU’s Committee of Interns and Residents) and the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center. In addition to the Academy of Mount St. Ursula and other Bronx schools’ participation, the guidebook will be distributed to students at more than 50 public schools through Montefiore Medical Center’s school-based health clinics.

"For the last few months, the Bronx CAN Health Initiative has inspired Bronxites to take responsibility over their own health and make changes to their habits in order to lead longer and healthier lives," said Senator Gustavo Rivera. "Given that issues of obesity, heart disease and diabetes start with the formation of bad health habits at a young age, I am excited that the Bronx CAN Health Initiative is continuing in Bronx schools. It is my hope that the students and families who take on this 8-week challenge will continue to incorporate the lessons they learned as part of the Family Health Challenge into their daily lives."

“The Bronx CAN Family Health Challenge is a perfect example of how members of our Bronx community form partnerships and work together to create great programs that have a large, positive impact on the well-being of the borough. I urge all Bronx students and their families to take on the eight-week Family Health Challenge,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“Montefiore Medical Center is honored and excited to be a partner in this important initiative, which is all about engaging youth and families in making healthy choices,” said Roberto S. Garcia, Senior Director of The Office of Community Relations at Montefiore. “Montefiore continues to be a leader in providing programs and services that enhance the health of all members of our Bronx community.”

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's latest reports, the Bronx continues to be the unhealthiest county in the state of New York, with higher rates of obesity, diabetes and asthma than other parts of the state. In response to this report and to the crisis of obesity and obesity-related diseases, State Senator Rivera and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined with community organizations from throughout the Bronx to launch the Bronx CAN Health Initiative in June of this year.