Posts tagged exercise
By SaludToday Guest Blogger: Lizbeth Barrera
I come from a Mexican-American family where food is part of our culture.
Coming together and enjoying our traditional plates is something I cherish. I grew up eating chilaquiles, enchiladas, sopes—basically all those yummy “antojitos.”
My struggle with my own weight caused me to realize that we need to eat these traditionally fried foods in moderation. Our cuisine is delicious and unique, but we must think twice before consuming it daily.
The peak of my weight gain occurred in college. At the University of California, Berkeley, I cooked what I learned from my mom’s kitchen, and ate a lot of fast food. I had a college degree under my belt, but also 155 pounds. It might not seem like a lot, but I am only 5-feet, 1-inch tall.
I didn’t realize my weight gain until I returned home to San Jose, Calif. I did not feel good about myself when I went shopping. Clothes didn’t flatter me. My self esteem was down.
I decided it was time for a change and signed up for a six-week boot camp the summer I graduated. There I ran my first mile since high school (a proud day), but I only lost 5 pounds in the program.
I wondered why it wasn’t making lose the weight I wanted.
Then it finally clicked—I needed moderate-to-intense exercise and a change to my diet.
This year was life-changing. I got a two-year gym membership for Christmas and began to jog on the treadmill. The boot camp was a nice quick fix, but going to the gym on a regular basis was a better long-term solution. I got up to three miles jogging at a time.
I cut the proportions of the food I ate. But I wasn’t eating healthy. Eating fried food made me feel week.
In February 2012, I became a pescaterian, which includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals. My vegetable intake increased dramatically. Becoming a pescaterian in a Mexican American family, where meat is part of our cuisine, is frowned upon. Pescaterianism does allow me to enjoy some traditional Mexican food, such as ceviche and enchiladas, but it stops me from eating so much of it.
I also ran my first half-marathon this year. One of the biggest accomplishments in my life. I trained for two months on nearby park trails. I went from jogging three miles at the gym at the beginning of the year to running 13 miles in June. Running is something I love and enjoy doing. I am now training for my second half-marathon on Oct. 7, 2012.
I am currently 122 pounds, down from 155.
I am not trying to promote pescaterianism or becoming a runner. What I do recommend is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. I recommend finding some sort of sport or exercise that you enjoy or become proud of doing. I also am not urging that we stop eating traditional, delicious Mexican food. Instead, perhaps we should eat it in smaller portions and find healthier ways to cook it.
Latinas are less physically active than Latino men and are less likely to meet physical activity guidelines than other population groups.
This inactivity may lead to obesity and associated conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
To improve Latinas’ health, a new five-year, $3.48 million study will use promotoras—trained community health workers—to lead culturally appropriate group education and exercise sessions for Latinas in community centers in South Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley, says study leader Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, professor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) in the School of Medicine of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Participants also will get newsletters and telephone counseling.
The effort, called Enlace (which means to “connect” or “join” in English) and funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to increase Latinas’ physical activity rates.
“The idea behind Enlace is that, through this promotora intervention, Latinas will gain an otherwise-unavailable layer of social support to overcome barriers to activity and make positive behavioral changes—namely that Latinas engage in 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on five or more days a week,” Dr. Parra-Medina said.
Dr. Parra-Medina and her colleagues had identified several barriers that influence physical activity behaviors among Latinas in South Texas: the dominance of work and family responsibilities, time, social isolation, lack of social support and personal motivation, access issues (e.g., program costs, lack of childcare and transportation), neighborhood safety and other factors.
For the new Enlace study, Dr. Parra-Medina’s team will recruit 704 Latinas ages 18-64 who do not meet federal physical activity guidelines from eight community resource centers in impoverished areas in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Half the women will be randomly assigned to the Enlace intervention, which includes 16 once-a-week promotora-led group exercise sessions; and 24 weeks of a maintenance intervention with monthly promotora-delivered newsletters and telephone counseling.
The other half will serve as a control group.
Dr. Parra-Medina’s team will compare the two groups based on minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, physical fitness, wand other factors.
“We hypothesize that Latinas in the intervention group will significantly increase their levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, compared to those in the control group,” Dr. Parra-Medina said.
Read more here.
Find the latest in Latino health—from fighting Latino liver cancer to innovative ways to improve life for Latino cancer survivors—in the new E-newsletter from the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The IHPR E-newsletter has these stories:
- Story and Video: Study Links Diabetes, Obesity to Liver Cancer in Latinos (Pg 1)
- Story: How a Professional Abuela Spawned a Health Career (Pg 2)
- Story: Clinical Trials & You (Pg 2)
- Story: Join Study Motivating Cancer Survivors to Get Fit (Pg 3)
- Story and Video: Closing Health Gaps for Latino Cancer Survivors (Pg 4)
- Videos: Health Novelas, Stories of Latino Diabetics, & More (Pg 10)
The E-newsletter is jam-packed with even more info on the latest local and national health disparities-related news, resources and events.
Visit us here.
Laura Esparza used to be an “exercise avoider.”
She steered clear of physical activities that resembled the P.E. classes of her youth, and had little confidence to work out or try playing any sports.
That changed when Esparza, a parent of three children and community volunteer in San Antonio, Texas, grew increasingly concerned with rising local obesity levels and learned that daily physical activity is an essential element of everyone’s physical and mental health.
Now she exercises regularly and is an avid “exercise promoter” at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, where she researches ways to increase Latino families’ physical activity.
“Spurred by my own experience, I became interested in promoting exercise and physical activity for those not already active,” said Esparza, who joined the IHPR in 2009 from UT San Antonio, where she earned her master’s degree in health and kinesiology. “I want to help solve the obesity health crisis.”
Esparza is a key player in the IHPR’s Physical Activity Partnership for Girls, a multi-component health behavior-change intervention that uses text messaging and social media to promote physical activity among adolescent Latina Girl Scouts.
She also coordinates Y Living, a healthy lifestyle program for cancer prevention and risk reduction with community partner, the YMCA of Greater San Antonio.
“I enjoy working with community partners because they are so committed to improving the lives of their constituents in an increasingly challenging resource environment,” she said. “Community-academic collaboration is not easy work—it takes a lot of time and energy to build on the knowledge and strengths of both sides in order to develop programs that have a chance of success. In the end, everyone involved wants to improve the health and well-being of the community, and I am so pleased to be a part of that.”
Esparza takes her promoter role directly into the community, too.
She is vice-chair of the Active Living Council of San Antonio, a group focused on facilitating change in policy, infrastructure, and attitudes to promote active living throughout the community, and serves on the community board of the Methodist Healthcare System, the city’s largest hospital system.
“Improving health takes a multi-level effort, from lending a hand in the community to figuring out how to get 12-year-old girls excited about trying a new exercise,” Esparza said. “The challenge is to make being physically active the easy choice.”
¡Por Vida!, launched in October 2010, is a San Antonio restaurant recognition program that aims to help adults and children make healthier food choices by identifying menu items that meet certain nutritional guidelines. The obesity prevention program is one arm of a larger city effort that implores residents to “Find Your Balance” and get healthy.
Since it started, a dozen restaurants have joined the program.
In response to rising obesity and breast cancer mortality rates, a new local study is testing how different types of exercise—like yoga—best improve cancer survivors’ fitness, quality of life and molecular indicators of future cancer risk.
The project, Improving Mind and Physical ACTivity (IMPACT), is led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Over the yearlong IMPACT study, 90 breast cancer survivors will be randomized to participate at least three times a week in: 1) a comprehensive exercise “prescription” featuring an individualized aerobic, strength-training and flexibility program; 2) a yoga exercise program; or 3) general exercise chosen at will.
Study recruitment is underway. For eligibility, call 210-593-2669.
“We expect comprehensive and yoga-focused participants to have better fitness outcomes, less stress and improved biological indicators of future risk of secondary cancers,” said study co-principal investigator Dr. Daniel Hughes of the IHPR. The study, funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, is led by IHPR Director Dr. Amelie Ramirez and features Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) translational scientists.
Participants in all three groups will take a fitness test and undergo measurements at the start and end of the study, and also fill out surveys and exercise logs.
The study team also is testing exercise’s impact on survivors at the molecular level.
Check out the latest in health disparities—from new efforts by promotoras to help Latino cancer patients to a new study to see what type of exercise best prevents breast cancer recurrence—in the latest E-newsletter from the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
View the IHPR E-newsletter to see:
- Story and Video: Promotoras Help Latino Cancer Patients (Pg 1)
- Story: IHPR Staffer Learns ‘True Meaning of Despair’ in Brazil (Pg 2)
- Story: Exito! Program Trains Latino Doctoral Hopefuls (Pg 4)
- Story and Video: Local Cancer Survivors Help Test Which Exercise is Best (Pg 5)
- Story and Videos: Addressing Texas’ Latino Obesity Epidemic (Pg 6)
- Story: Like Mother, Like Daughter: Rodriguez Duo Fights AIDS (Pg 7)
Find much more on local and national health disparities-related news, funding, resources and events by visiting the IHPR’s Web site.
A new TV spot from SABalance.com, the City of San Antonio’s initiative to encourage healthy lifestyles, urges residents to “Find Your Balance” and develop good eating and exercise habits.
The bilingual spot prominently features active Latinos and beautiful San Antonio cityscapes.
Watch in English here or below:
Watch in Spanish here or below:
The new “Muévete Hoy!” exercise video infuses Latin dance moves and a catchy beat to motivate Latinos of all ages to get more physically active.
We created the English and Spanish exercise video to get participants up and moving at a recent conference. Now we’re asking you to stand up, get ready and “Muévete Hoy!”
Watch below or on YouTube in Spanish:
The video was produced by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday. Learn more about us at http://ihpr.uthscsa.edu.