New programs to help families become more physically active
By Chris J. Minnick
This weekend the New Mexico Department of Health and several community partners will kick off its first ciclovia in Las Cruces. By now you’re probably wondering what exactly is a ciclovia and how will it benefit my family. A ciclovia is a funny word for a great concept that will bring families together to teach ways to become more physically active.
The concept of a ciclovia comes to us from Columbia more than 20 years ago. The City of Bogota Columbia began the ciclovia concept by reserving selected streets for pedestrian use only. Now, nearly a million people fill the roads of Bogota every Sunday. The first ciclovia in Las Cruces will take place from 8 a.m. to noon on March 30 at Meerscheidt Recreation Center and surrounding areas and other ciclovia’s will take place from 8 a.m. to noon on April 27, May 25 and June 29.
Ciclovia is a temporary urban space in which neighbors regularly interact with one another and their community through exercise. During this event pedestrians can use the streets for safe travel via cycling, walking, jogging, dancing, skipping, etc. Streets are closed off to car traffic and pedestrians, cyclists, and walkers take over.
Partners for the ciclovia are New Mexico State University’s Southern Area Health Education Center, the Cooperative Extension Service from NMSU’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics, the City of Las Cruces, Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach and the Doña Ana County Diabetes Action Coalition
This afternoon you can learn more about the ciclovia by tuning into the new radio show Prescription for Health. The show airs every Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. on KSNM AM 570. Representatives from the Doña Ana County Diabetes Action Coalition, Southern Area Health Education Center and the Department of Health will be on the show from 4 to 4:30 to talk about the ciclovia. You can talk to them live in the studio by calling 527-4570.
The kick off of this weekend’s ciclovia marks the first event in many to come this year where families can become more physically active and live healthy lifestyles. In 2007 the Department was awarded a $100,000 grant to pilot an obesity program in Las Cruces. Since the grant was awarded we have worked with several agencies in the city including the City of Las Cruces the Las Cruces Public Schools and New Mexico State University to name just a few to develop activities that will benefit all families in the County.
We have scheduled the kick off of a new program called “Healthy Kids, Healthy Las Cruces” for April 24. Details about the kickoff and other events for families this year will be announced soon. The ciclovia and the new “Healthy Kids, HealthyLas Cruces” program are part of the Department’s comprehensive effort to battle obesity in the County.
The Department of Health already has several programs in place that teach families about physical activity and healthy eating. The Las Cruces Public Health Office offers Working on Wellness and Kitchen Creation classes. All the classes are free and are offered in English and Spanish. To learn more about the upcoming schedules for these programs call the Las Cruces Public Health Office at 528-5001 and ask for the Community Wellness Program.
To learn more about other programs from the Department of Health that can help families live a healthier lifestyle, log onto the Department’s website at www.healthynm.org.
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