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St. Vincent de Paul receives funding from Los Medanos Community Healthcare District and a Rotary Club Global Grant to support the Healthy Families Cooking Class at the RotaCare Pittsburg Free Medical Clinic at St. Vincent de Paul.

The Healthy Families curriculum was developed by a volunteer nurse and volunteer interpreter from RotaCare Pittsburg, for the purpose of providing patient education for making food choices that promote good health, a healthy weight, and healthy lifestyle changes for patients living with hypertension, diabetes, and/or obesity. Patients participating in the program have made significant reductions in their blood pressure readings and many have lost 5-10 lbs over six weeks!

The 6-week class series consists of 6 workshops that are each 2 hours in length. They are facilitated by volunteer instructors that provide content education as well as live food demonstrations. The Healthy Families Cooking Classes are offered to all Transitional Care Clinic patients and other interested clinic patients, and provides a necessary platform for promoting the importance of nutrition education in the management of chronic condition(s).

The two main themes of this curriculum are focusing on foods and beverages that are high in nutrients and managing body weight through physical activity. The two guidelines go hand-in-hand and together provide important information for developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The classes encourage participants to eat more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and to limit saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains. Most importantly, the curriculum emphasizes a flexible approach to eating patterns where individual and cultural food preferences are considered. The physical activity theme of the curriculum provides recommendations that stress the importance of physical activity and exercise. This includes aerobic activities and muscle strengthening activities that are tailored to a person’s specific interests, lifestyle, and goals.