Open Accessibility Menu

Pete’s Perspective: Working Together to Build a Healthier Future for Monterey County Children

Pete’s Perspective:  Working Together to Build a Healthier Future for Monterey County Children

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Joining forces to lead the charge against a growing health threat to children in Monterey County, Salinas Valley Health, Montage Health and Aspire Health are working to combat childhood obesity and diabetes through the Healthy Together program.

More than 42 percent of Monterey County children aged 5-17 are overweight or obese, and more than 25 percent of residents self-reported having diabetes or prediabetes, according to the 2022 health survey by the Monterey County Health Needs Collaborative.

The consequences are alarming. Extra pounds often create pediatric health issues once considered adult problems: diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Obesity in children can also lead to poor self-esteem, bullying and depression.

Healthy Together, offered by Aspire Health (formerly called the Pediatric Wellness Program), recently expanded to reach more families in Monterey County. Underwritten by the Salinas Valley Health Foundation and Montage Health Foundation, the program is free for families with eligible children aged 2 to 18. Modifications have made it easier for children and families to develop their own wellness plans specific to personal health needs, schedules, geographic location and technological capabilities.

Offered in English and Spanish, the family-focused curriculum provides two distinct formats led by certified health and wellness coaches: engaging one-hour evening sessions including group activities and hands-on family learning; and 30-minute individual phone or video appointment options featuring personalized lifestyle education and family coaching.

The range of topics includes healthy plates; meal planning; education about sugar; screen time; stress and sleep; ways to increase physical activity; along with setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).

Addressing food insecurity, the Fresh Produce Prescription program supports families with vegetables and fruits from local Farmers’ Markets – like the free community event held Friday afternoons at Salinas Valley Health – to provide healthy choices for children.

With targeted pediatrician recommendations and a strategic approach to develop and inspire lifelong good habits, Healthy Together is a long-term investment that is moving the needle on a challenging yet treatable crisis that we as a region face.

Salinas Valley Health is proud to partner with Montage and Aspire to leverage our resources to meet common goals of health equity and access. Through this kind of forward thinking, together, we can better help our community rise in good health. To learn more, visit the Aspire Health website or click here for the program flyer.

Be safe and be well.

– Pete

Sign Up For Our E-Newsletter

We are providing our community with health and wellness information. If you would like to receive these e-newsletters, sign up below.