PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout Philadelphia, adults and children face many challenges to eating nutritious foods and living healthy lives. Many of the preventable diseases plaguing this community, like diabetes, are associated with obesity. In the area served by Congreso, one of the city's largest multi-service organizations for the Hispanic community, 37.1% of adults and 39.8% of children six and older were reported as overweight or obese in a 2012 survey by Public Health Management Corporation.
To improve the health of underserved communities in Philadelphia, local volunteers from Aramark, the $15 billion global provider of award-winning services in food, facilities management and uniforms are establishing a Healthy For Life® Zone at Congreso's North Philadelphia campus, as part of Aramark Building Community Day (ABC Day), the company's annual global day of service. The health and wellness hub will help families make healthy food choices part of their everyday lives and improve their overall wellbeing.
"Aramark Building Community Day is part of our year-round dedication to our mission of enriching and nourishing lives," said Eric J. Foss, Aramark Chairman, President and CEO. "Here in our headquarters city of Philadelphia, ABC Day is bringing our mission to life, leveraging the skills and service ethic of our diverse workforce to empower Philadelphia families to lead healthier lives and succeed."
"Obesity and chronic disease are some of the major barriers to the health and prosperity of our community," said Cynthia Figueroa, Congreso President and CEO. Aramark employees are helping us expand and extend the reach of our health and wellness programs providing ongoing and much-needed support to our community."
The average life expectancy of community members in Congreso's service area is 59.1 years, compared to 79.5 for Pennsylvanians. Sixty percent of Congreso's clients have at least one chronic condition, and 16% of people who live within the service area have diabetes; compare this to Philadelphia's city-wide rate of diabetes of 10%. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is twice as high in Latinos as non-Latino whites. Latinos are twice as likely to die from diabetes as non-Latino counterparts, mainly a consequence of poor disease management and poor health behavior.
At Congreso, 250 volunteers will provide families in need with healthy food options by enhancing community gardens where residents can grow fresh produce. Chefs, dietitians and other experts will lead educational nutrition workshops and provide samples of healthy foods.
Aramark teams will prepare recipes from the American Heart Association's Simple Cooking with Heart program as part of Healthy For Life® 20 By 20, a new initiative between the American Heart Association and Aramark to improve the health of all Americans by 20 percent by 2020.
At Aramark offices across the city, hundreds of additional volunteers will assemble thousands of Healthy For Life® meal kits and deliver them to Congreso to provide families with a simple and easy-to-prepare nutritious meal.
Today, in communities around the world, thousands of Aramark employees are inspiring families to lead healthier lives and empowering youth and adults to obtain valuable job skills. These efforts are an extension of Aramark Building Community, the company's year-round global volunteer and philanthropic program dedicated to improving family health and helping people succeed in the workforce. Since 2008, Aramark has invested more than $9 million in volunteer expertise, financial and in-kind resources to strengthen communities. More than 30,000 employees have dedicated their skills through hundreds of volunteer projects impacting over four million people.
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) is in the customer service business across food, facilities and uniforms, wherever people work, learn, recover, and play. United by a passion to serve, our more than 270,000 employees deliver experiences that enrich and nourish the lives of millions of people in 21 countries around the world every day. Aramark is recognized among the Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE and the World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. Learn more at www.Aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc. is a multiservice organization serving the Philadelphia region through its mission to strengthen Latino communities through social, economic, education and health services; leadership development and advocacy. Over the last five years, Congreso has served 58,572 of the region's neediest individuals. In FY15 alone, we served 17,751 unduplicated individuals, the majority of whom live on an annual household income of less than $11,000 per year. Sixty-five percent of our clients are Latino, and 34 percent are African-American.
Mary Rucci, Aramark
Yvette Nunez, Congreso
Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150916/267354
Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131212/PH32713LOGO
Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150916/267214LOGO
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aramark-and-congreso-improve-health-and-wellness-of-philadelphia-families-300144430.html