With the completion of the new Maria Auxiliadora basketball court, and joining the initiative of Michelle Obama (2010 and recently Irma Garrido (2013), America Developing Smiles recognizes that the obesity problem in Puerto Rico is even greater than in the United States. In the United States, recent studies agree that about a third of children are in the range of obesity or overweight.
In Puerto Rico, the most recent data (2007) indicate that children between 2 and 5 years of age participating in the program WIC, “reveal that 39% are obese or are at risk of obesity.” We are experiencing an epidemic nationally and internationally. If awareness is not raised and steps are not taken to solve this problem in the immediate future, these children will be destined to suffer from diabetes and increase the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, cancer and experience psychological problems from an early age.
“Por la Salud si se Juega”
For Health If You Play is an interdisciplinary program organized by America Develping Smiles with the objective of trying to solve the health and nutrition challenges that the children of Puerto Rico already experience. Supporting individual and governmental initiatives, ADS has chosen the María Auxiliadora school in Villa Palmeras in Santurce to implement “Por la Salud si se Juega”.
This program seeks to promote that children are more active by adding sports and recreation activities during their extended hours, eliminating leisure and the problems that arise when being on the street. It also ensures that parents or representatives have more options and more information on choosing the best foods and their preparation.
We believe that only by making small changes, providing more information, giving choices and motivating parents and guardians, can we make a difference and create a healthier future life for these children.