Community Profile: Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico
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“BY GIVING INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO PROMOTE HEALTHIER LIFESTYLES AT HOME, SCHOOL, AND WORK, THE HEALTH OF THE ENTIRE TRIBE WILL IMPROVE.”
— Tom Udall, Senator, New Mexico
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“THE SAN DIEGO RIVERSIDE CHARTER SCHOOL HAS SEEN DIRECT BENEFITS OF THE FARM-TO-SCHOOL PROGRAM. PRODUCE FROM THE COMMUNITY GARDEN HAS BEEN INCORPORATED INTO OUR SCHOOL BREAKFASTS AND LUNCHES WHICH HAS PROMOTED HEALTHY NUTRITIONAL SERVICES FOR OUR STUDENTS. CPPW HAS TRULY MADE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OUR STUDENTS.”
— Tony Archuleta, Principal, San Diego Riverside Charter School, Pueblo of Jemez
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico, is tackling obesity throughout the community. Home to nearly 1,800 residents, the community maintains a traditional American-Indian cultural life, with a large majority of Jemez residents speaking the native language, Towa. In Jemez, 39% of patients served by the local Comprehensive Health Center are obese, which is higher than the state rate of 25.6% and the national rate of 27.5%. Additionally, 15% of patients served by the Comprehensive Health Center are overweight, 14% have diabetes, and 24% have heart disease. By eighth grade more than half of Pueblo of Jemez students are overweight or obese, which is significantly higher than the national rate (32%) of overweight and obesity among school children. In addition to obesity-prevention efforts aimed at the community's entire population, certain initiatives are geared toward children.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, Pueblo of Jemez has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease the prevalence of obesity, Pueblo of Jemez:
- Supported an afterschool program's implementation of wellness guidelines that requires participating children to engage in at least 45 minutes of daily physical activity and 30 minutes of daily nutrition education. This program serves students from three local schools.
- Sponsored wellness activities for all ages, including the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds program Walatowa Bike Club; and "fun runs" and walks. As a result of these activities, the rate of participation in community physical activity events has increased by 50%.
- Started efforts to develop a comprehensive school wellness policy that supports increased physical activity, nutrition education, healthy vending options, and farm-to-school options. To date, there has been an increase in the availability of healthy foods and beverages in local schools and at school events.
- Increased the number of local farmers' market vendors from three to 17. Vendors accept vouchers from seniors and participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
- Expanded the size of the local community garden by 60%. This garden will provide locally grown produce to Jemez schools through a farm-to-school program.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
The Pueblo of Jemez Health and Human Services Department created a Wellness Leave Policy that allows those directly employed by Pueblo of Jemez to use up to 1.5 work hours per week to participate in physical activity during the workday. As a result, approximately 160 employees have taken advantage of this policy to participate in various exercise activities.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of Pueblo of Jemez's leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- Office of the Governor, Pueblo of Jemez
- Pueblo of Jemez Health and Human Services
- Pueblo of Jemez Senior Center
- Pueblo of Jemez Valley School District
- Walatowa Visitor Center and Convenience Store
- Page last reviewed: October 25, 2013
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