By Debbie Shelmire
“HEY! Let’s Eat and Dance for Good Health” is the 3rd annual community event hosted by the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section (CHPPD) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in conjunction with the APHA annual meeting and the second event related to Food Day. We believe it is educational for our members to be exposed to public health issues and organizations attempting to address them in the various parts of the country where the annual meeting is held, and it is rewarding to do our bit to help out in these neighborhoods. Last year, we were very pleased to join with several partners in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District to prepare and cook a nutritious meal for seniors and to prepare and serve food for the homeless. We also conducted a walking audit/tour to assess the food environment in the district, and raised money for one of the organizations.
This year, we are very excited to partner with the Mattapan Community Health Center (MCHC) in Boston for this event on Saturday, November 2 from 10 am – 2:00 pm. The President and CEO of MCHC, Azzie Young, has been an active member of the CHPPD section for many years. We have focused on Food Day for the past few years because of the importance of eating healthy and avoiding obesity, a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. This is especially a problem in Mattapan, which has a higher prevalence of diabetes than other areas of Boston. Mattapan is also one of two neighborhoods in Boston identified as a “food desert” because of the community’s lack of access to fresh foods. Another high priority for the health center and for APHA in the past several years has been to address the problem of Vitamin D deficiency, a problem in Mattapan and many other areas of the country.
So we’re again partnering with the national Food Day celebration to host an event bringing in local chefs to do cooking demonstrations; celebrities to talk about their advocacy for healthy food availability and the importance of exercise; and local dance instructors to teach us how to shake our bodies the fun way and do the Salsa, Zumba, Cha-Cha Slide, and the Wobble. We will also have two Affordable Care Act (ACA) navigators and some health insurance companies on hand to educate and/or enroll community members in health insurance plans. If you’re in the vicinity, please come out and join us. If you’d like to RSVP, please follow this link. http://www.foodday.org/aphachppdsection/hey_let_s_eat_and_dance_for_good_healthThere will be free transportation from the Convention Center to the Health Center at 9:00 am and 10:30 am with return trips at 1:00 pm and 1:45 pm.
Wishing everyone good luck with their Food Day events!
Debbie Shelmire, MPH, CPH
Secretary, CHPPD Section, APHA