Community Promotes Water to Reduce Obesity
A largely Latino community in Maryland experimented with promoting water to reduce obesity through a pilot program called the Water Up Project. The program’s goal is to get the community to drink more water and reduce their consumption of sugary beverages. The pilot program appears to be a great program that can be used in several California communities, as well as nationwide. There were about five restaurants in Langley Park, Maryland that were part of the pilot program that emphasized offering water to the customers. Brenda Barrios, a volunteer that explains the program to neighbors and restaurant owners, states,
It’s not like convincing (the business’ owners), it’s more like informing. It’s more like, you know why we need to change these menus. Can you, please help your families because at the end we are a big family, a big Latino family. We want to be healthy. I like the idea and very excited about the Water Up Project because it promotes water. One of the simple, healthy and cheap things is water.
Uri Colon-Ramos, the co-principal investigator of the Water Up Project and an assistant professor of global heath at Milken Institute of Public Health in George Washington University, believes that getting restaurants involved with the program was the first step in promoting drinking water instead of sugary drinks. Diabetes is prevalent in Latino communities and a program like the Water Up Project is a great step in trying to change some of the bad habits of Latino families. Ads target Latinos and encourage them to consume more sugary drinks, but the commercials downplay the serious health risks linked to sugary drinks. Colon-Ramos states that the number one risk factor for diabetes is sugary drinks, and it’s something that people don’t need in their diet. Hopefully, some communities in California can adopt the Water Up Project to help promote more healthy lifestyles for families and help prevent obesity and diabetes.