Hypertension and diabetes are epidemic in Mexico. Seventeen million people ages 20-69 are diagnosed with hypertension. Fourteen million adults have high cholesterol or triglycerides and six million more have diabetes 2. All of these diseases are related to being overweight! All of them can be prevented by making different personal choices.
These stunning facts opened the second training sponsored by Border Partners of a group of Promotoras (Health Educators) on August 27-29 in Palomas. Mexico’s health status underlines the importance of equipping citizens to meet epidemic needs. Three days of training last month launched these new trainees with:
- a basic understanding of hypertension and diabetes,
- skills empowering the new promotoras to assess disease risk factors, and
- updated recommendations from professionals on disease prevention and control.
The trainees were active learners, using a “hands-on” approach and valuing their opportunity to learn the use of genuine medical instruments to measure blood pressure and blood sugar.
The promotoras also learned the Five Steps Program, an effort in Mexico to raise public awareness of the steps individuals can take to improve their own health and avoid hypertension and diabetes. The Five Steps/Cinco Pasos are:
- Move! Get more exercise: 30 minutes per day for adults, 60 minutes per day for children.
- Drink water! 5-10 glasses each day. Dehydration plays a big part in the development of chronic disease.
- Eat vegetables and fruits!
- Maintain good emotional health!
- Share information with others!
The promotoras are now equipped with several strategies for lowering the numbers of people with chronic health problems in their community. The training emphasized utilizing education campaigns, screening events, exercise classes, and support groups as grassroots efforts that will address these health needs.
The promotora group received their initial training in June. Border Partners is pleased to be part of the process of advancing health through community action.