Extension teaches Portland area’s Hispanic population about healthy eating

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Extension's Lucy Lores leads a cooking demonstration in Portland. (Photo by Lynn Ketchum.)
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Program includes recipes in Spanish, and pictures for those who can't read

People of Hispanic origin comprise 12 percent of Oregon’s 3.9 million population. Some don't speak English or understand the dietary dangers of too much sugar, fat and sodium. So with help from local partners, the Oregon State University Extension Service provides nutrition and food safety education to low-income Hispanic families in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties. Through its Metro Hispanic Nutrition program, Extension reached about 3,000 limited-income adults and youths in 2011-12, three-quarters of whom were Hispanic.

One of the individuals was an unhealthily thin, young mother who lived alone with her 3-month-old baby and didn't know how to cook. She was losing two or three pounds each week. So Lucy Lores, an Extension nutrition educator, taught her about healthy eating. In two weeks, the woman had gained three pounds. She learned to eat three meals a day and to make recipes developed by Extension. She has since gained 15 pounds, returned to her senior year of high school and says she's especially happy about learning to cook.

View a narrated slideshow about the program.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Lynn Steele, director of OSU Extension's Metro Hispanic Nutrition program.

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