New Mexico: Pueblo Fosters Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities

The New Mexico Department of Health uses a portion of its Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funding to support 13 Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) locations. HKHC was started in 2011 to make it easier for kids and adults to get and stay healthy. One in four children in New Mexico lives in an HKHC county or tribe. Four in five children attending an HKHC school eat healthier foods at school, and three in five exercise more often than kids attending non-HKHC schools. The four tribal communities that participate in the HKHC initiative have created 21 walking, running, hiking, and biking trails—providing almost 50 miles for healthy outdoor exercise.

One great example is Pueblo de San Ildefonso, a tribal community in the northern part of the state where kids and adults alike are becoming healthier because of HKHC. PHHS Block Grant funds, combined with the pueblo’s resources, helped the pueblo develop seven walking trails and encourage people to use the trails.

The trails, marked around the main village and other pueblo areas, are free to use. A community walking club uses them several times a week. Families ride bikes or run together in the evenings and use the trails to walk their dogs. New Mexico’s governor even set aside time during the work day for tribal employees to exercise on the trails. The HKHC coordinator in Pueblo de San Ildefonso also started a
“Walking Wednesday” program for kids and adults to walk to school together once a week.

Exercise not only helps people lose weight but also can help them reduce their risk for serious chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The trail system, walking clubs, “Walking Wednesdays,” and the HKHC initiative help people living in Pueblo de San Ildefonso become healthier and more active.

Story year: 2015

Photo: Children walking to school

Pueblo de San Ildefonso students en route to school on “Walking Wednesday”

Page last reviewed: April 17, 2018