UC Davis Today: Fighting obesity through art, education

Mural of Latinos with scaffolding

Fighting obesity through art, education

Students key to nutrition partnerships

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Produced by Karen Nikos/UC Davis

UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension have collaborated to bring education on healthy eating and exercise to families in two communities in Fresno County — Firebaugh and San Joaquin — where 4 in 10 children are considered overweight or obese and some of the poorest people in the country live.

The work by an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and members of the local community, is made possible by a $4.8 million grant last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The goal of the project, Ninos Sanos/Familia Sana ("Healthy Children/Healthy Family"), is to curb obesity among Mexican-heritage children ages 2-8.

In all, 400 children and their families in Firebaugh will be provided with practical tools, education and incentives to help them eat healthy diets and get sufficient exercise in a five-year program. Many of the programs and meetings will be held at a new center that will launch Thursday.

On Sunday, in celebration of Mexican Independence Day, a mural depicting the history and culture of the community will be unveiled on the wall of a community center in San Joaquin. The mural has been painted this month as a collaborative project by UC Davis students and San Joaquin residents, including youth.

A mural in progress, designed by Jaime Montiel, artist-in-residence at Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA) at UC Davis, is created in the Fresno County community of San Joaquin. The mural painted Sept. 1-15 is based on the community's cultural and social history. Carlos Francisco Jackson, founding director of TANA, co-leads the Ninos Sanos/Familia Sana study. Photo by Gilda Posada, community art engagement project coordinator, TANA

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