Fitness and nutrition is very important for all ages in African immigrant communities; particularly for women and girls. However, lack of education regarding nutrition and healthy cooking, better eating habits and a more active lifestyle leads to unhealthy lifestyles in immigrants. Fitness has not been traditionally recognized as it has not been a part of their regular routine, education or background in Africa. Most of the immigrants come from many countries that have no gyms, fitness classes or running tracks.
In the US, food awareness, healthy eating and fitness are commonly promoted by the American Medical Association to reduce obesity, risk of disease and encourage overall healthier lifestyle. However, immigrant women and girls still face challenges that hinder them from participating in healthier lifestyle options.
These challenges include:
Culture and religion that prohibits females from fitness centers or classes where there is a male presence.
Lack of financial means to join a gym or specialized fitness classes.
Lack of financial means to pay for daycare services.
Lack of financial means for or access to fresh, organic food, joining nutrition education and healthy cooking classes.
What We Need To Make This Happen:
The Fitness and Nutrition Program focuses on education as the most effective tool to advance knowledge, raise awareness and enhance techniques about health and fitness as well as tips about smart shopping to reduce the food cost that challenges many low-income families. This program provides lectures about nutritious food and training for immigrant mothers in the form of cooking classes that demonstrate how to prepare everyday balanced meals and nutritious snacks.