The National Association of Hispanic Nurses- Valle del Sol Chapter-is undertaking a project entitled Muevete USA, or “Let’s Move.” The purpose of this program is to use professional nursing education to reduce childhood and adolescent obesity among Hispanic girls in at risk areas within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Anabell Castro Thompson, Faculty Director for Muevete USA, talks about the program.
José Cárdenas: Muevete "Move" USA is a program that equips nurses with the skills to reduce childhood and adolescent obesity in the Hispanic community. We'll talk to the faculty director of Muevete USA, but first here's what Muevete USA is doing with valley students.
Luis (video): I have diabetes, and high blood pressure. The doctor came in and told me your sugar is high, you need to go to the hospital. I was in a moment of terror and broken in tears. I wasn't expecting this. I was just expecting some pills and you go home. It wasn't until that moment that I knew that I had to start taking care of myself. If there was a way to actually go back in time and try to fix it, I would have gone back in time. If I would have heard about the plan, Muevete, it would probably help me a lot. Probably other kids should be taking special consideration. Your health is something really important. It's not something to mess with. You always have to take care of your health. If I had known about this earlier, it would have helped me probably lose weight and change my eating habits and everything.
Erica (video): My name is Erica. Hi I'm Moracio. We're here today because childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. Especially with regard to Hispanic population. The Coca Cola company has sponsored a grant entitled Muevete "Move" USA. To reduce the number of obese Hispanic children.
Moracio (video): The national association of Hispanic nurses partnered with the school in the greater Phoenix areas to help decrease the risk of children ages 6-14. We hope you enjoy our video as we take you through our journey.
Anabell Castro Thompson (video: These people right here, they are all students and they're studying to be nurses.
Mark Hernandez (video): We're here to speak to you about the importance of exercise.
José Cárdenas: Here with me now is Anabell Castro Thompson, faculty director with Muevete USA. Welcome back. You've been on the show before. We've talked about health issues in general. This particular program, how did it start?
Anabell Castro Thompson: You know, it started because we're seeing a profound amount of obesity in the Hispanic community. It is estimated roughly 9 million children in adolescence are dealing with being overweight and having obesity.
José Cárdenas: Are these 9 million Hispanic children?
Anabell Castro Thompson: No, 9 million overall.
José Cárdenas: A big portion of them are Latinos?
Anabell Castro Thompson: Correct. The statistics say that one in every six or adolescents, but when you look at the Hispanic statistics it's one in two, one in three. We are seeing that about 38% of Latino children in adolescence are obese. And the state of Arizona alone, we have seen a tremendous increase, 91% increase in obesity from the years 2003-2007. To put it to you another way, they are saying that one out of every two Latina girls in Arizona is at risk of being diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime.
José Cárdenas: As I understand it, that's one of the reasons for a focus. At least initially on Latinas. Before we get to that specific discussion, how does this tie into President Obama's, First Lady Michele Obama's program?
Anabell Castro Thompson: Michelle Obama has a program called move it. She's going into the schools trying to teach kids about an increasing physical education, eating healthy habits, choosing the right foods for choices. When we look at that program, we really like it, but we thought it was missing the cultural component. We actually went to the Coca Cola foundation --
José Cárdenas: We being --
Anabell Castro Thompson: The national association of Hispanic nurses as a whole, nationally. And requested a grant from Coca Cola so that we can take this informational session into the classroom, teach students and teach that cultural component.
José Cárdenas: You got funding from Coca Cola. When did the program start?
Anabell Castro Thompson: The program started roughly in the summer. We wanted to identify a school here in the Phoenix community, and we had five chapters across the nations that were doing it. Two chapters in Texas, one in Georgia, one in Chicago, and us in Arizona.
José Cárdenas: And usual the faculty director?
Anabell Castro Thompson: Yes.
José Cárdenas: What does that mean?
Anabell Castro Thompson: I was put in charge to identify the school and make sure the program was up to standards as required by the Coca Cola foundation.
José Cárdenas: So we saw some segments from I assume one of the schools, you're now in several schools, or you have been.
Anabell Castro Thompson: Yes. We've done two schools.
José Cárdenas: How did it go? At the very beginning what kind of reaction did you get and describe the content of the program.
Anabell Castro Thompson: We decided that we were going to do several sessions. Sessions were lasting approximately an hour and a half. The first half hour it was a large group presentation. The second half hour we had broken the students down and they were doing exercises that were more age appropriate. And then the last half hour it was zumba dancing. We notice the kids right away because of the content was culturally appropriate, we were doing the information in English and Spanish and sending it home so the parents could also be mobilized and get into the learning. In addition to that, much of the music we were dancing to during zumba was in Spanish and we could see the energy level when the Spanish music came on, the girls just was heightened.
José Cárdenas: What age group were you focused on?
Anabell Castro Thompson: We were focusing anything from 6-14 years old.
José Cárdenas: And so that was the first school, and the next school was --
Anabell Castro Thompson: The second school we decided to bring the men in. We are actually finding that even men love doing the zumba. In the first program we had 42 students, the second program we had close to 90. One of the things that we really liked is that the kids get a bracelet at the end of the program and it says, "I eat right, I exercise, and I have fun doing it." And it was a constant reminder for the kids to use the learning they had acquired. Some of the students throughout the short duration of the program were already verbalizing weight loss.
José Cárdenas: Is the program entirely voluntary?
Anabell Castro Thompson: Yes.
José Cárdenas: The students self select.
Anabell Castro Thompson: Correct.
José Cárdenas: And what is it that gets them to even perhaps admit something they may not want to admit, which is that they're overweight?
Anabell Castro Thompson: One of the things we did, we approached the schools. Particularly the school nurse, and we said, could you select for us students that their BMI is high, or students --
José Cárdenas: Body Mass Index.
Anabell Castro Thompson: Body Mass Index, correct, or if you can identify any students for us that are already dealing with Type 2 diabetes. So when the educator was coming back to us or the nurse was coming back to us for information, we were initially wanting numbers of 20 students, they were coming back and asking us to take 60 or more.
José Cárdenas: We're almost out of time. Tell us where the program is going to go from here.
Anabell Castro Thompson: We have three schools, we have three requests from three different schools here in the Phoenix Valley. We have just received the second portion of funding from the Coca Cola foundation. So we hope to continue instituting the program in the future too, we hope to do more longitudinal study where we can go back and assess the same kids and make sure that the information that we're providing leads to behavior modification, weight loss, and certainly the prevention of diabetes and many other conditions that can be caused by obesity.
José Cárdenas: Thank you for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about this program. It was good to have you back.
Anabell Castro Thompson: Thank you.
José Cárdenas: That's our show for tonight. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening.
Anabell Castro Thompson:Faculty Director, Muevete USA;