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Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Grant Recipient and Health Activist Rosa Soto Featured in Food, Inc. Documentary Film
Date:6/12/2009

A Profile of a Leader at the California Center for Public Health Advocacy

LOS ANGELES, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- When the producers of the new documentary Food, Inc. contacted Rosa Soto, 33, to talk about the relationship between the food industry and public health, they came to the right place.

Soto's passion for health activism stems from both professional and personal experience. She is regional director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy in Los Angeles, and worked with youth health programs and for state elected officials prior to joining the organization in 1999.

Ultimately, Soto's passion for the topic came from the personal, not the political. Seeing her grandfather lose both of his legs to diabetes and hearing similar stories from other relatives, neighbors and friends, Soto realized that conditions in her community were leading to high rates of chronic disease. She felt an urgency to start changing these environmental conditions.

In her current role, Soto influences local and state policy by supporting localized grassroots advocacy efforts. In 2000, Soto and her team engaged the youth of Baldwin Park, Calif., in a summit on teen health. Two hundred teens met with policy makers to brainstorm programs and environmental changes focused on "making the healthy choice the easy choice." Most of the ideas generated at the summit are now a reality within the community: the opening of a healthy teen center featuring a rock climbing wall and skate park; conducting walk audits and making the community more pedestrian friendly; and helping corner stores highlight healthy options.

Within a year after the Los Angeles Unified School District's childhood obesity prevention initiative was put into effect ("when the second-largest school district in the nation makes a change like that," said Soto, "policy makers take notice") and California approved the f
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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