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DuPage's Only Provider of Head Start Takes Aim at Childhood Obesity in Minorities
Date:10/7/2008

Lifelink introduces Color Me Healthy(TM)/Salud Primero to teach ABCs of

nutrition curriculum

BENSENVILLE, Ill., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Lifelink today announced that it has launched an expansive campaign to bring a comprehensive diet and nutrition curriculum to all of its Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms in an effort to have a dramatic impact on lowering childhood obesity and diabetes in minority children. Lifelink also will offer the program in home-based settings to Head Start families and to all families participating in Lifelink's Healthy Family programs.

Lifelink is the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start in DuPage County, serving 484 children and 525 parents -- at least 95 percent of whom live below the poverty level. Currently, 93 percent of the children it serves are ethnic minorities (77 percent are Latino, 7.7 percent are African American, 1.5 percent are bi-racial and 6.6 percent are Caucasian). A majority of the children come from immigrant families with a variety of languages spoken. One of Lifelink's Head Start centers has 19 different home-languages spoken.

Statistics indicated that families living below the poverty level are significantly more likely to be overweight or obese. America's poor families are especially hard hit because of a convergence of factors -- lack of neighborhood grocery stores carrying fresh fruits and vegetables, rising cost of nutritious foods, fewer safe parks and play spaces for exercise, and the ease and lower cost of fast foods for family's daily menu options.

Color Me Healthy(TM)/Salud Primero introduces a healthy nutrition and exercise curriculum to the children alongside a coordinated Health First program for parents, which is a more in-depth curriculum than is already being provided through Head Start parent trainings and Healthy Family curriculums. Lifelink is working alongside DuPage health and mental health providers to bring th
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