By Aurora Saldivar
“We understand there are limitations living in a trailer park of being able to buy healthier food,” said television’s Dr. Oz to Coachella youth during an event to launch his organization HealthCorps’ student health program at Coachella Valley High School on October 22.
He added he hopes the tips and curriculum being implemented at Coachella Valley High inspires students to “go to their homes and make those changes happen,” and then, “Ideally they’d be able to go out and change their communities.”
Dr. Oz said, “HealthCorps schools are primarily designed for areas with lower socioeconomic status.”
Many of the families living the eastern Coachella Valley are low income.
With transportation being an issue in this widespread valley, Dr. Oz said, “It’s difficult for you to walk to school. Those are big issues that hold you back from being who you could become.”
Another problem is that most families on a tight budget will often select food on a calorie count but suffer the trade off. Combatting child obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle is not always just the simple answer of choosing celery over Cheetos. Dr. Oz said, “The brain is looking not for calories. It’s looking for nutrients, not calories.”
“In an area like the Coachella Valley, you have access to dates, cauliflower, strawberries a lot of different foods that are less expensive here than they are because they are local,” Dr. Oz was enthused to share. Due to the city of Coachella’s agricultural nature, Dr. Oz said there is a unique opportunity available in this particular city because other cities suffering from colder climates do not have the same access to fresh produce.
After many inspirational stories and interactions with the students of Coachella Valley High, there came the time for Dr. Oz to say his farewells, leaving the seeds of health and hope to be sown in Coachella. Motivating students to become catalysts for change, Dr. Oz shared his belief: “If you understand what is happening inside your body, you’ll also be able to change the world around you.”
It’s an exciting time for the city of Coachella with many changes promoting health. In fact, just a week before Dr. Oz’s visit, the city welcomed a new certified Farmers Market to showcase local produce. According to Dr. Oz and the rest of the HealthCorps team, “Coachella’s got a little secret” and “we think we are going to spend the time seeing what that is, and export it.”