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Chaparral 2017-2018: 26.5 Our Wellness

OUR Wellness

by Erin Calderone
Wellness Coordinator

Social Justice for Health and Fitness
Healthy communities benefit everyone… and here’s how you can help.

The numbers tell us the startling truth: health and fitness are a social issue, not just an individual goal. Epidemiological research highlights health and fitness disparities across the nation. For example, the CDC reports that:

  • Only 1 in 10 adults gets the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, with lower consumption among men, young adults and adults living in poverty.
  • Only 1 in 5 adults meets the recommendations for physical activity (150 minutes per week), and lower rates of physical activity occur in non-Hispanic black adults and Hispanic adults, adults with less education or living below the poverty level, and those living in southern states. Physical activity declines with age, and women tend to get less physical activity than men.

These disparities in nutrition and physical activity can lead to disparities in health across the lifespan. According to the CDC’s REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) program:

  • Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest rates of obesity (48%) followed by Mexican Americans (43%).
  • Compared to non-Hispanic whites, the risk of diagnosed diabetes is 77% higher among non-Hispanic blacks, 66% higher among Hispanics/Latinos, and 18% higher among Asian Americans.

An HBO documentary titled Weight of the Nation highlights that many of these disparities are associated with your zip code. There are essentially food “deserts” around the country that don’t give residents many choices for healthy food options, and neighborhoods may not be safe or promote exercise – fewer parks per capita are found in inner cities and poor neighborhoods. (Here’s a great 20-min clip of the doc if you want to learn more:

To address these issues obviously requires change on many different fronts, and some of it is already taking place at national, state and city levels. For example, many cities are promoting urban farms and “green carts” in low income neighborhoods (, and the California Department of Public Health reports that 100 farmer’s markets throughout the state now accept WIC benefits to help promote fruit and vegetable consumption and support local farms. The CSU Kinesiology departments are also stepping up and providing free workouts and basic nutritional education in parks, targeting underserved neighborhoods ( Glendale also has fitness programs for adults with special needs


So what can we do here at GCC?

When your students are eating nutritious meals, exercising and getting enough sleep they have a better chance of doing well in the classroom and in their future careers (and the same goes for us by the way!) Students may be learning about healthy eating in their health, nutrition and culinary arts classes, and they may be getting physical activity in their PE and Dance classes, but the only way they’ll carry on after graduation is if they still see it as accessible and important. The good news is that healthy nutrition and exercise don’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time. GCC has excellent resources to help students:

  1. Support the Food For Thought Pantry
  2. Encourage students to get involved in activities that promote health like:
  3. Be a role model! When students see that their professors are invested in their own health and fitness, the possibility of a healthy lifestyle becomes real. Of course, you can find plenty of ways to do this here on campus with OUR Wellness ( but don’t hesitate to share all the ways you enjoy a healthy life – from your most recent surfing trip abroad, your Tai Chi practice, your favorite healthy lunch recipe or favorite SoCal hike.

Fitness and nutrition shouldn’t be luxury items, but it will take an investment from us to grow healthy communities.  


Keep up with Vaquero Wellness or follow @vaquerowellness on instagram and facebook!

Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000 | 
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