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Cheerios(R) Angel de mi Corazon Awards $25,000 to Those Who Fight Heart Disease and High Cholesterol in Hispanic Communities Across the U.S.

MINNEAPOLIS, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Five local organizations and individuals committed to the fight against heart disease and high cholesterol in Hispanic communities were awarded 2009 Cheerios Angel de mi Corazon grants to continue on their mission. Chosen from a winning pool of nominations, the winning grant recipients developed outstanding strategic programming to encourage healthier lifestyles and provided excellent resources to help raise the level of awareness of heart health and high cholesterol in their community. The Cheerios Angel de mi Corazon program was created in 2007 to raise awareness of heart disease -- the leading cause of deaths among Hispanics in the country -- and honor those individuals committed to the cause.

"The Hispanic population is one of the most vulnerable groups prone to suffer from high cholesterol and heart diseases," said Rodolfo Rodriguez, Marketing Director of General Mills. "We're proud to honor these individuals and organizations whose work often goes unnoticed with the Cheerios Angel de mi Corazon grants. We hope others will be inspired to support the cause by this year's grant recipients."

The 2009 Cheerios Angel de mi Corazon grant recipients:

Silvia Gallegos, Dallas Concilio of Hispanic Service organizations (Dallas, TX)

Silvia Gallegos is the Community Health Manager. She teaches a diabetes self-management course that focuses on reducing complications of diabetes and managing the disease effectively and highlighting the importance of controlling cholesterol and blood pressure. The classes also provide opportunities for screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, waist circumference, and BMI. She initiated "Pasos Saludables," a walking program that has more than 500 participants walking together each week in over 25 groups in the Dallas area each year.

Robert E. Michler, MD Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, NY)

Robert E. Michler, MD, is raising the level of heart awareness amongst the 1.5 million residents of poor, inner-city community of residents in the Bronx. Dr. Michler has expanded the medical center's community outreach programs, clinical research projects and cardiovascular treatments to benefit this underserved population who face complex barriers to health care access. Dr. Michler initiated American Heart Month. Every February, the Center sponsors free heart and cholesterol screenings, heart-healthy cooking demonstrations and lectures hosted by physicians that focus on how women, in particular, can lower their risk of developing heart disease

La Clinica de La Raza, Inc. (Oakland, CA)

La Clinica de La Raza, Inc. is a comprehensive community health center that services over 50,000 patients most of which are Latino residents of Oakland, CA. More than 2,000 of these patients have cardiac problems, high cholesterol, or hypertension. Medical providers work with patients to ensure that they receive the tests, medications and other interventions needed. Patients are offered cholesterol control, weight management and diabetes prevention classes. One on one health education and goal setting, provided by health educators and certified dieticians, is a key component in helping patients address chronic cardiac conditions.

Venice Family Clinic's (VFC) Healthy Hearts Program (Venice, CA)

The Healthy Hearts Program provides comprehensive primary care to nearly 900 low-income, uninsured and homeless men and women with heart disease and over 3,400 with risk factors for developing the condition. VFC offers diabetes, fitness and weight management health education services that are vital in the prevention of heart disease. UCLA School of Medicine staff and residents provide direct medical care, consultation and diagnostic testing -- a unique service-learning model for specialty care that would otherwise not be accessible to low-income, uninsured community members.

Centro Comunitario Juan Diego (Chicago, IL)

Centro Comunitario Juan Diego's Community Health Promoters conduct over 500 home visits a year and observe poor eating habits of those in their communities. The Community Health Promoters program consists of cooking and exercise classes, specially geared toward mothers and families, designed to help residents in the community make healthier lifestyle changes. The program has grown and now it is offered at clinics, schools, churches, day-care centers and in residents' homes.

The panel of judges for this year's Angel de mi Corazon program included representatives of public health services, journalists and educators. Among the judges were: the Editor in Chief of Siempre Mujer Magazine, Johanna Torres, the Associate Director of Operations for the Center for Multicultural & Community Affairs at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Ann-Gel S. Palermo, and one of last year's grant recipients, Registered Dietician Tabitha Miller from Esperanza Health Center.

In addition to the Angel de mi Corazon grant initiative, through January 31, 2010, Cheerios -- through its partnership with WomenHeart -- will donate $1, up to $200,000, to raise awareness of heart disease and provide free cholesterol screenings for women in need, for every code entered at Codes will be featured inside specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal.

About General Mills Inc.

General Mills, with annual sales of $13.4 billion, is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. Based in Minneapolis, General Mills' mission is to innovate to make people's lives healthier, easier and richer around the world. Its global brand portfolio includes Cheerios and other Big G cereals, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Nature Valley, Yoplait and more. It also has more than 100 U.S. consumer brands, more than 30 of which generate annual retail sales in excess of $100 million. General Mills also is a leading supplier of baking and other food products to the food service and commercial baking industries.

About Cheerios Angel de mi Corazon

The Cheerios Angel de mi Corazon search is designed to help raise awareness of heart disease among Latinos in the U.S. and honor individual "Angeles" who have invested their time, talent, and spirit to helping those suffering from heart disease in their community. Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts(R) provides financial grants to charities and community-based organizations across the country. This is the third of a three year commitment by Cheerios.

SOURCE General Mills
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