KARLA MARTINEZ/Coachella Uninc
It seems like everyone is trying to be healthy these days, but this hasn’t always been the case in my house.
Both my mother and grandmother are overweight, but I am most worried about my sister. She was recently diagnosed with obesity, and she’s only 11 years old.
I know she isn’t the only one. According to the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, among California adolescents 12 to 17, Latinos are more likely to be overweight or are at risk for being overweight.
It must be hard to be a kid with weight issues. I don’t want her to feel she isn’t beautiful, because she is. Beyond self-esteem issues, which I have also struggled with, I want her to be healthy.
It doesn’t help that my grandmother makes huge Mexican dinners every night. My family loves huge helpings of fried food combined with traditional sides. My grandmother pushes us to have seconds and we often eat more than we should.
When we spend time with my father, he never denies my sister what she desires to eat. I know he is only trying to make her happy because he doesn’t see her everyday, but he is causing her harm.
The doctor said my sister needed to lose 40 pounds, and she is taking his recommendation seriously. This is very difficult considering the way our family eats. She is eating smaller portions and is exercising. She is going to a local Zumba class and is doing yoga at home. Having to eat less is not easy for my sister, who is used to eating everything she wanted. But she has discovered she is a good dancer, and she comes home sweaty and happy from Zumba class.
There are ten people in my home, and, for a long time, I was the only one who exercised and tried to eat healthy. I am glad this has changed.
My sister has lost 20 pounds, and she feels lighter and more confident. She looks beautiful and, most importantly, she is happier and healthier.
Dr. Christopher Flores, a local family doctor, recently took the time to answer my questions about how we can help kids like my sister improve their health. My interview with Dr. Flores will be posted on the Coachella Unincorporated website tomorrow.
Karla Martinez, 14, is a sophomore at Olive Crest Academy in Coachella.