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By Social Justice Learning Institute, 01/05/2017

Social Justice Learning Institute Awarded Nearly $1 Million to Address High Obesity Rates in Inglewood and Lennox

Thursday, January 5, 2017

(Inglewood, Calif.) – The Social Justice Learning Institute was awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with funding from the California Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant will support the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations by providing nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray, and shop.

Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, champions in communities throughout the County will be identified to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physical active in a variety of settings, including early childcare centers, schools, faith-based organizations, corner stores, parks, worksites, and cities.

“The Social Justice Learning Institute is pleased to be a part of this County-wide initiative, as we are uniquely positioned to reach the economically vulnerable communities of Inglewood and Lennox,” explained Dr. D’Artagnan Scorza, SJLI Executive Director. “We are working toward making notable changes in schools, parks and community spaces to make healthier foods more affordable and available as well as identify ways to integrate physical activity into the day to improve the overall health for families in Inglewood, Lennox and surrounding communities.”

According to the LA County: A Cities and Communities Health Report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top ten leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.  While the obesity epidemic continues to impact virtually all population groups, about 27% of children and 28% of adults in Inglewood are obese. For African-American and Latino groups, the situation is much worse.  Adult obesity rates in Los Angeles County stand at 33% among African-Americans and 31% among Latinos, compared to rates ranging from 9% to 19% by white, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian counterparts.

“Reducing obesity is a priority of Public Health and a key objective of the Champions for Change – Healthy Communities Initiative,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer of Los Angeles County. “By investing in our communities and the people that we serve, we are hopeful that we can make impactful, long-lasting changes for better health outcomes.”


About The Social Justice Learning Institute (SJLI)

The Social Justice Learning Institute is dedicated to improving the education, health, and well being of youth and communities of color by empowering them to enact social change through research, training, and community mobilization. We envision communities where individuals use their agency to improve each other’s lives. We believe that all communities should have access to fresh whole foods, clean and safe open spaces, and a quality environment. Our organization is committed to addressing health disparities through community development that is not only culturally relevant, but also builds the capacity of individuals to make healthy decisions in their personal lives.


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