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Stanford Report, October 1, 2003

Grant will boost Latino wellness

A medical center researcher is part of a team that recently received a five-year, $4.6 million federal grant to launch health-improvement programs for Latinos and other medically underserved groups in the nearby city of Salinas.

Marilyn Winkleby, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, is co-principal investigator on the grant.

She and her colleagues at the Monterey County Health Department will implement an integrated, comprehensive set of community-based programs to address obesity, diabetes, asthma and three related risk factors — physical inactivity, poor nutrition and tobacco use.

She said results from a recent survey conducted among 1,000 Latinos in Monterey County showed the majority of respondents were young, impoverished and medically uninsured. Additionally, more than 60 percent were overweight including more than 20 percent who were obese.

Winkleby said that with the grant, more than a dozen key agencies will work together to create or expand programs aimed at improving the health of Latinos and other groups.

In addition, the group is planning outreach efforts that will involve schools, clinics, employers of agricultural workers, fast-food restaurants, senior centers and churches.

The grant was one of 12 awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of its "Steps to a Healthier US" program.