NYACK, N.Y. -- For Latina mothers in Rockland County, staying healthy doesn't need to be a solo exercise.
A Nyack Hospital program called Mamas Maravillosas is working to help Latina mothers reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes by supporting them in losing weight. Targeting Latina women who are overweight, obese or have other factors that put them at a higher risk for diabetes, the program's goal is for mothers to lose at least 5-7 percent of their body weight.
“There is strong evidence that a 5-7 percent weight loss will significantly lower the mother’s risk of diabetes–both Type 2 and pregnancy-related diabetes,” said Elizabeth Staum, community health educator for Nyack Hospital and the program's head.
Mamas Maravillosas gathers like-minded mothers to help promote increased physical activity, healthier food choices and other healthy lifestyle decisions. Meeting weekly, the group consists of a weigh-in and unique agenda for each day. “We educate on a topic of the day using group discussion, have a healthy snack, do a physical activity break, set specific, realistic goals for the coming week and give a small health-related incentive gift,” said Staum.
The program is being offered through the Community Health Education Department of Nyack Hospital and is held in Spring Valley.
For the "mamas," the program's results have been impressive, both for their physical health and overall wellbeing. Recently, two participants were inspired by the class to begin organizing interfamily soccer games, promoting good health and family bonding. Another mother shared her efforts to lose weight with her employer, who in turn agreed to begin providing healthier lunch options for employees.
“We are continually looking for opportunities to make this program even more successful,” said Staum. “The number of women who stay in the program has been increasing every year, and we want to improve these numbers even more.”
For more information about Mamas Maravillosas, call (845) 348-2004 to speak with someone in English or (845) 348-3057 to speak with someone in Spanish.