Education and Partnership Is Key to Decreasing Obesity Rate

By Robyn Browning, Executive Director, Herbalife Family Foundation
March 13, 2015

Herbalife addresses an epidemic in San Antonio with the Fresh Food / Fresh Start organization and the Casa Herbalife program.

At Herbalife, we often talk about how to solve the seemingly intractable problem of obesity – an issue that is paramount not just in the United States, but across the world.

What can we do about it? Can we stop it, or at least slow it? If this is a war, where are the front lines?

San Antonio – the second-highest obesity rate in the nation.
Earlier this year the San Antonio Express-News reported that San Antonio has the second-highest obesity rate among major U.S. cities. While the city, through much hard work, has recently seen a drop in its obesity rates, the battle is far from won and the decisive blows against obesity are yet to be struck. For many, San Antonio is the front line of the War on Obesity.

Fresh Food / Fresh Start and The Healy-Murphy Center step in to help and educate.
The city and its residents know that they must overcome the obesity epidemic, and that’s where the  Healy-Murphy Center, and its Fresh Food/Fresh Start program in San Antonio, has stepped in. The Healy-Murphy Center provides youth in crisis, many who live below the poverty line, with the academic, emotional, and physical support services necessary to earn their high school diploma, pursue higher education or long-term employment, and break the cycle of poverty and poor health from which they come.

At Healy-Murphy, a lot of time and effort goes into teaching students about nutrition and how to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Making these lifestyle changes requires certain resources that many low-income students do not have at home. Eating a well-balanced diet is not a familiar concept for these young people or their families, who are often more concerned with filling their rumbling stomachs than with the benefits of consuming healthy food.

The Fresh Food/Fresh Start program provides whole fruits and vegetables, nutrition education and wellness training to teen students and young children in an effort to create long-term change in their eating habits and lifestyle choices. When teens eat and enjoy healthy options now, they stand a greater chance of providing those foods to their own kids later on in life. It’s called “reversing the nutritional cycle,” and it works!

In addition, teens in the program are educated about the importance of proper eating for their physical development, the impact it can have on their daily activities and school performance, and how to properly feed themselves and their children, if or when they have them.

But food and services are expensive, the demand continues to grow each year, and support is needed. No one can go into this battle alone.

The Herbalife Family Foundation makes a (BIG) difference.
Our own Herbalife Family Foundationa non-profit organization, recently made a donation to the Healy-Murphy Center to create San Antonio’s first Casa Herbalife program. The Casa Herbalife program is a global program dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world by supporting charitable organizations that provide one of life’s most basic necessities – good nutrition. The Herbalife Family Foundation supports 13 programs in the U.S. and more than 120,000 children daily, worldwide. We are grateful for the support of Herbalife members and employees, who generously donate their own time and money to the foundation.

These two organizations share a common belief that all children deserve the best start in life. With help from the Herbalife Family Foundation, the Healy-Murphy center will be able to provide students with healthy lunches, weekly nutrition education sessions and individual consultations with a nurse practitioner. This is critical support, needed at a critical moment.

Working in partnership – private business, nonprofit organizations, local families, and government leaders – we can build a healthier community. Working together, we can take back this city’s health.