Thursday, May 14, 2009

Multicultural Farmers Market To Emphasize Ethnic Crafts, Foods, Healthier Lifestyles

Loyola joins with Village of Maywood, Maywood Public Library, University of Illinois Extension to feed demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in Maywood

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- For years, Maywood residents have had to travel miles to the nearest grocery store to find a healthy selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

To help remedy that situation, Loyola University Health System and students from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine have teamed up with the Village of Maywood Special Events Committee, Maywood Public Library, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners Program and community residents to organize the 2nd Annual Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market.

The first market will feature a health fair and takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 23 at the Maywood Public Library, 121 S. Fifth Ave., Maywood. Future markets will take place at the library from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the first and third Saturdays of June, August, September and October, and the second and third Saturdays of July.

The market is the first of its kind in Maywood, an area that has high levels of chronic illnesses that are partially caused and worsen by poor eating and exercise habits, said Lena Hatchett, Ph.D., assistant professor, department of preventative medicine and epidemiology, Stritch School of Medicine.

"There is a whole host of people in Maywood who have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables that can help prevent serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers," said Hatchett, one of the organizers of the farmers market.

"The Maywood Multicultural Farmers Market will help us to prevent disease and to build healthy eating habits among area families, many of whom are at risk for these life-threatening conditions," added Hatchett, a public health researcher who has worked for more than a decade at reducing racial and ethnic health disparities.

Through October, Maywood area residents will be able to purchase low-cost ethnic fruit and vegetables, herbs, arts and crafts, flowers and gourmet items produced by local Latino, Asian-American and African-American farmers and gardeners at the market. The number of vendors at the market and the variety of offerings will widen as the growing season progresses.

The market will also feature entertainment, gardening advice, tips on cooking low-fat nutritious meals, free samples, methods to lower stress and reduce weight, fun exercises and information on the link between diet and blood pressure and hidden fat in foods. Medical students will offer free blood pressure checks, blood-sugar level screenings and obesity awareness during the health fair.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.