May 10, 2002

Huesos Fuertes, Familia Saludable (Strong Bones, Healthy Family) Campaign Launched to Address Rising Osteoporosis Rates

Kicking off National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, public health officials launched Huesos Fuertes, Familia Saludable (Strong Bones, Healthy Family). The campaign is designed to help prevent osteoporosis among Spanish-speaking Latino families. The campaign is in its second year, building on the success of the pilot project completed last year. In addition to targeting Escondido, the campaign is being instituted in Fresno, San Bernardino, and Santa Ana. The four-month campaign will end in August.

“Osteoporosis is on the rise in California and contrary to popular belief, it affects Latinos in a significant way,” according to Maria Felix, lead promotora for Huesos Fuertes, Familia Saludable at the Escondido Community Health Center.

Osteoporosis is a serious disease that thins the bones and makes them brittle. Simple falls for people with osteoporosis can lead to hip, spine and wrist fractures. Up to 20 percent of those with hip fractures die within a year of their injury. One in two women and one in eight men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. While Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, Hispanic women are still at significant risk. In fact, one in six Latino women already have osteoporosis.

Huesos Fuertes, Familia Saludable asks Latinos two years and over to simply drink one extra cup of 1% milk every day as a way to improve health and increase calcium consumption. Maintaining adequate calcium consumption is one of the key factors for protecting against osteoporosis. In addition, engaging in weight-bearing exercises such as walking, running, dancing and weight lifting protects against osteoporosis. From the teen years on, most females fail to get enough calcium. Consuming one extra cup of milk each day would bring most Mexican teen-age girls and older females closer to their recommended calcium intake.

“Drinking one extra cup of 1% milk each day is easy to do and has great health benefits for everyone,” said Felix. “The extra cup of 1% milk can be enjoyed in a licuado, in cereal, or in other recipes that include milk. Families will stay strong and healthy with the calcium in 1% milk.”

Campaign sponsors are promoting 1% milk because it has all the nutrition of whole and 2% milk and a lot less fat. Huesos Fuertes, Familia Saludable will feature 1% milk tastings in licuados at local grocery stores, radio advertisements, and outreach at community events such as the Escondido Street Faire on Sunday May 19th and through classes organized by local community health workers known as promotoras.

The promotoras will be conducting classes on topics such as 1) Bone Health Throughout Life, 2) Food Sources of Calcium, 3) Physical Activity for Bone Health, and 4) Maintaining Success for Bone Health. The promotoras have been trained to lead the Huesos Fuertes, Familia Saludable educational sessions by Escon-dido Community Health Center and the Southern Coast Region of California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition). Sponsors of the campaign expect more than 200 women to attend the classes.

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