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PLATFORM : Changing Behavior

December 02, 1990| LORRAINE WHITEHORSE of the Vista Community Clinic in San Diego County heads up communitywide programs aimed at improving health habits. She spoke about the special difficulties of getting through to the Latino community. and

Everyone wants to be healthy, but sometimes other needs come first. When we talk about cardio-vascular risk reduction, we're talking about getting people to change behaviors now, so that they don't get heart disease 20 years from now. That's real difficult for any ethnic group to deal with, but I think with the Latino belief, which tends to be more fatalistic--that many of these things related to health are in God's hands, for instance--it becomes more difficult to grasp the idea (of preventive measures) and to become active in taking control of their own health.

But what we've found is that once people become educated, that turns around and they become very active and involved.

We have an 18-member coalition of Latino leaders. Some are physicians, but we also have people who are just interested citizens. They're taking over a lot of the activities, and that's one of the goals--to get people to realize that they do have something to do with their own health.

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