College campuses targeted for health makeover

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 2:56 PM

DALLAS – The football field at Paul Quinn College was turned into a garden last year –– surely a big move, but just one of the many steps this historically black college is taking to improve health in South Dallas.

As part of state and federal action plans to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services is sending a step performers group on a multi-campus tour with a message that, when it comes to health, "Someday Starts Now."

"It's designed to teach them that thinking about your healthy living now and planning things out helps for a better birth in the future," said Myi Watson, who is part of the Someday Starts Now group, which visited Paul Quinn Wednesday afternoon, "And also helps them think about things they may not have thought about before like taking vitamins and how much water they drink."

African Americans –– women in particular –– have the highest obesity rates in the country, according to U.S. Department of Health. To help control cholesterol and sodium intake, which affects African Americans disproportionately, president Michael Sorrell has even stopped serving pork products in the cafeteria.

"This is about sending a message that people have to have balanced meals and healthy options," insists Paul Quinn president Michael Sorrell.

Sorrell says pork isn't the only answer, nor is a step program, or a football field turned farm. But continued efforts together are a start to making young people considered at high risk of disease healthier.

Email jstjames@wfaa.com

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