Yakima | The Obesity Epidemic: A Tale of Two Cities| IN Close

Yakima | The Obesity Epidemic: A Tale of Two Cities| IN Close


Enrique: Yakima, Washington.
Population, 91,000. It’s the namesake of Yakima county, located
in the heart of central Washington, Yakima is the ninth most populated city in the state,
where agriculture still drives the economy. A billboard here promotes the area as the
palm springs of Washington. But when it comes to the health of this community,
Yakima and the county are far from sunny. How do you feel about Yakima being listed
as the fourth most obese city in the country?>>It’s disappointing because I know that
we could be better and we could do better as a community.
>>Enrique: Marisa Lopez is the community health director for Yakima memorial hospital.
She says that while the Yakima valley is well known for producing an abundance of fruits
and vegetables, many people here struggle to afford those healthy foods year round,
as well as making healthy lifestyle choices.>>When I think of the indicators and what
factors contribute to obesity, I really think it’s related to social determinants of health.
[barking]>>Enrique: Education, economics, and demographics
are the main determinants at play here. Only 74% of Yakima residents have graduated
from high school. The state graduation rate is 90%.
Several people in Yakima county live below the federal poverty level.
29% of adults do not have health insurance. One in six households in the county is food
insecure, that is unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food.
And Yakima county is home to more than 75,000 migrant and seasonal farm workers, plus their
dependents.>>There’s poverty issues.
So some people might have two jobs and they may be working long hours, and so they can’t
come home and prepare a, you know, fresh meals. So they’re making quick choices for their
families. Some people may not have the time or the energy
to really, you know, incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.
And those are two critical factors in really improving, you know, obesity epidemic in our
county.>>Enrique: Adriana knows those challenges.
On this night, she and her son Moses and daughter ana are preparing dinner at their home near
Yakima. Her husband is working late at a nearby fruit
ware house. The family has struggled with weight issues
that have affected their health. [speaking Spanish]
>>Enrique: For the sake of their health, Adriana knew her family had to change their
die expat lifestyle. diet and lifestyle.
What the family ate, how much, and the lack of exercise were problems.
>>Power, power. ��
>>Enrique: A community health clinic referred the family to a nutrition education course
taught by Jasmine Silva of WSU extension.>>Several of the families probably living
in the same circumstances as the vast majority of the families that we work with, and eating
like everybody else.>>Enrique: Silva teaches these expanded food
and nutrition education classes throughout the Yakima valley.
Working with a growing latino community that’s now 47% of the population in the county.
>>Most of our hispanic families have assimilated to the American diet.
>>Enrique: So her focus is on educating the families about a healthy diet.
[speaking Spanish]>>Talking to them about why refined grains
affect their body, or what kind of things that they do, why we should be eating more
whole grains, and also being physically active. Two out of three children born after the year
2000 are most likely to have complications of diabetes type 2.
And one out of two children, if they’re hispanic or African/American, that’s 50%.
So our classes are important to help reduce those rates to give people, um, the knowledge
and even the hope to live to their maximum potential.
[speaking Spanish] Knowledge and hope are a big part of Yakima Memorial’s efforts to combat obesity and diabetes. This ACT class, Actively Changing Together, is an evidence based program that has shown success in helping over weight children and their parents so we are really incorporating the family dynamics. Spend time playing outside, eating meals together and really helping, not only kids and the parents to make better purchasing choices so that when they go to the store, they are purchasing healthier options and that they know how to prepare them.>>Enrique: Back at the maganas, there has
been change. Taking the nutrition education class, Adriana
pays more attention to what the family eats and how she prepares the meals.
[speaking Spanish]>>Enrique: The family has lost weight and
their health problems have lessened. Still, it’s an ongoing challenge for the maganas
and many others in the Yakima valley.>>So our hope is that we start embedding
those healthy habits in the family households so that their future generations will adapt
those healthy habits and we can start seeing change in our, the health of the population.

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