Exploring Nutrition continues to raise health awareness


statistics showing the number of people who are obese in Olney

“McDonald’s is delicious and good for you because they give you apples. I’d eat it every night for dinner” said six year-old Michael Bass as he and his mother waited for the 26 bus on the 1900 block of Olney.

Bass is one of the many African American children in the community who suffers from obesity due to limited access to healthier food options.

While many students are finishing up the semester and packing up to gear for summer, Exploring Nutrition’s LGU students push towards helping children like Bass by providing better produce for local stores in the community.

LGU Students working to distribute  healthy food to low income families.

LGU Students working to distribute healthy food to low income families.

Research conducted by the Community Health Database suggests that only 10 percent of whites in the Olney area of Philadelphia are obese, while 40 percent of African Americans and Latinos suffer from being overweight.

“I try to feed him fruits and vegetables, but it seems that the fresher the food the more expensive it is. I just cannot afford it” says Pamela Bass, mother of little Michael.

According to recent city data, the median household income for those residing in the Olney-Germantown area of Philadelphia lists below state average with families pulling in only $27,490 a year. With residents in the Lasallian community making an estimate of $20,000  less than others in Pennsylvania, many families resort to eating foods high in fat for survival.

Dr. Edie Goldbacher from Department of Psychology at La Salle University says one’s environment also contributes to obesity patterns found in low-income communities.

“Social factors play a role. If you go out with a certain group of friends you may be more like to eat or drive a certain thing because you behavior is influenced by the people around you,” said Goldbacher.

With numbers in obesity soaring at an all-time high around American, the LGU students have teamed up with Fresh Grocer and local religious institutions to collectively work together to establish nutritious food options for  families who simply cannot afford the high cost that comes along with eating healthy.

“It was a natural partnership for both La Salle and Fresh Grocer.” said Dr. Marjorie Allen, Chair of the department of integrative studies at La IMG_2193 - CopySalle University.

Recently, both organizations in the community partnered to kick off  La Salle’s annual food drive. Students and community leaders from all over packaged and shipped fresh produce for religious institutions to distribute throughout the community.

“Our company strongly believes in outreaching to the community as much as we can, connecting with varies organizations, and donating whether it be time or food to help out the people in need,” said Tom Hepp, store director for the Fresh Grocer at La Salle University.

Religious institutions like Canaan Baptist Church, Hosley Temple, and Mount Air Church of God in Christ were among the many religious institutions to help in distributing some of the produce to families in need.

“Wow, it is just so nice to finally get a break from the expensive prices found in grocery stores” said Tameka Harris, a local member of the community.

With over 3,600b pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, Exploring Nutrition fed over 2,000 families and raised $5,000 through contributions and various fundraisers.

The Spring Food Drive is just one of the many ways in which La Salle’s Exploring Nutrition Program gives back to the community.

This organization work together to not only distribute food and resources to low-income communities, but also educates families on how to eat healthy while on a budget in hopes to decrease food insufficiency in urban areas.

So far, the program has conducted projects like the Easter food drive, mommy and me nutrition classes, Adolescent cooking program, community health fairs, and many others to help the community.

Although the program has drastically improved within such a short time span, this community still faces many issues regarding health and nutrition.

The program’s ultimately goal is to create a model that engages all sectors of civic society in addressing the particular problem centering around hunger in the community.

In order to accomplish this goal, Exploring Nutrition continues to address issues by continuing to partner up with local organizations and religious institutions in the community.

““Churches and mosque are the stable institutions for the community. They know what this community needs  most,” said Allen.

Here is a video of the program working with organization throughout the Philadelphia area to increase health awareness in the community.


La Salle’s easter drive




LGU students from La Salle’s exploring nutrition have came together over Easter weekend to tackle the underlying issue concerning the lack of access to healthy eating options within urban communities by kicking off its annual food drive. Click on the photo to find out more about the event and how it has bettered communities surrounding La Salle University.

Government regulations or dietary guidelines?

dietary guidelines, health, Journalism, news

food1Over the years, the government has placed much regulation on the conduct of Americans. There was the prohibition of Alcohol, laws placed on gun control, and recent legislation that determines the legality of Cannabis from state to state. But can there really be regulations on what Americans eat?

Professor Henstenburg, director of the nutrition program at La Salle University, says that while the government cannot directly tell us what and what not to eat, they can place dietary guidelines to act as recommendations for healthy living in the United States.

By law, food and nutrition scientists come together every five years to deliver highly researched guidelines that tells Americans how they should eat.

According to recent dietary guidelines, ” There is an importance for understanding the totality of food and beverage intake at the  level of food groups and basic ingredients food3(e.g., fruit, vegetables, whole grains, refined grains, dairy, protein foods) as well as at the level of foods as they are typically consumed, called food categories  (e.g., pizza, pasta dishes, burgers, sandwiches) and how these contribute to nutrient adequacy or nutrient excess”.

Due to raised suspicion, many people do not follow such measures, causing these dietary guidelines to lose much of its credibility between the American people.

“Now usually there are lots of controversy in these guidelines because it has been long thought that  they are fairly influenced by the food industry,” said Henstenburg.

To allow Americans to voice opinions like these along with many others, these guidelines are placed in the Federal Register for people to publicly comment.

Still, with such dietary liberation, 68.8 percent of the people in the United States are overweight. These numbers suggest that such guidelines  do not working in food2decreasing obesity simply because Americans do not like being told what to eat.

As we  continue our journey to promoting healthy eating, it will interesting to see how scholars and nutritionist develop a better method that could help Americans get on track with better dieting.

La Salle explores obesity

health, news


More than two thirds of those residing in America  are overweight by the time they hit adulthood. With that being over 68% of the United States population, a professor at La Salle is fighting to take a stance against obesity in America.

Dr. Edie Goldbachen, a professor who teaches in the doctoral program in the department of Psychology at La Salle stresses the importance of understanding, preventing,and treating weight related difficulties.

Since 1990 the numbers for those with obesity have only gotten worst yearly, labeling the medical condition as a striking disease in America.obesity 2

According to Dr. Goldbachen, one of the key contributing factors to obesity is the constant decrease in physical activity.

“Now imagine that you are trying to promote physical  activity for children or adults, but the child lives in a impoverished neighborhood with no sidewalks and a lot of community violence and is a afraid to leave their house. They don’t have enough money to go to a gym and their schools have eliminated physical activity so now  there are these characteristics of this built environment that are going to make it more difficult for the individual to engage in more physical activity,” Dr. Goldbachen said .

Other factors that play a huge role in obesity in America are portion sizes and the high cost of healthier foods.

After comparing the prices of over 370 foods found in supermarkets, researchers from the University of Washington found not only that food with high levels of saturated fats was cheaper, but also that the prices of these foods are less likely to raise due to inflation.

As an attempt to change the number of those with obesity in America, Dr. Goldbachen uses a technique called stimulus control to help people work on eating habits.

“Its the idea that just the sight of something that sometimes is not even related to food can cause a craving,” said  Goldbachen as she explained some of the causes of weight gain.obesity1

With stimulus control, researchers and nutritionist work to teach individuals how to pay attention to things that we identify in the environment and how they may alter eating habits to avoid  mental problems that may cause unhealthy eating.

To defeat obesity in America , we must first understand environmental issues that controls how we eat.

Congress tackles hunger!

congress, feed, poverty

Before heading to clean the scraps off of our plates after dinner, many of us do not spend much time thinking about the amount of effort goes that into producing and distributing the food that makes it into our homes weekly. Because of the United

40 percent of food in America is wasted due to American greed

40 percent of food in America is wasted due overindulgence. 

States’ problem with food wastage, Republicans fight to approve anti-hunger laws that could reduce the amount of perfectly good food found in wastelands across America.

The Fighting Hunger Initiative Act intends to increase donations to food banks by  providing farmers,restaurants, and food manufactures with tax incentives for contributing resources to charitable groups. While this legislation may seem like the right step towards addressing hunger in America, others in congress remains skeptical of whether or not the bill will do so.

President Obama and his administration are working to veto the bill due to the potential lost in revenue that could add as much as 1.9 billion to the budget deficit that this country faces.

“The Republicans insist that we have to pay for things like unemployment insurance, so I don’t understand why they would allow these provisions to add to the deficit,” he

1.3 billion metric tons of fruits, vegetables, and other foods is found in trash cans each year.

1.3 billion metric tons of fruits, vegetables, and other foods  are found in trash cans each year.

continued. “And maybe I’m just skeptical, but I have a hard time trusting a Republican Leadership that has gone out of its way, time and time again over the last several years, to shred the safety net in this country. Just because you call something an ‘anti-hunger bill’ doesn’t mean it actually solves the problem.” said  Rep Jim McGovern. 

Instead of passing legislation that would cause an offset to the county’s budget, those in the Democratic party believes that such funds should contribute to raising earned income tax and programs like SNAP which provides low-income families with food purchasing assistance.

With each of the political parties having their own ideas on how to end hunger, it will be interesting to see how congress will come together to deal with underlying problems of hunger and poverty in the United States.

Exploring the problem


The Students at La Salle University are helping large parts of their community by coming up with answers that go beyond tests and quizzes.

Exploring Nutrition is a program at La Salle that enables students to collaborate with local businesses, community organizations, and religious institutions to collect and distribute helpful resources that  better the health and nutritional well-being of local neighborhoods.

This program is different from others on campus because it is aimed to help nourish families in the immediate community.

“Pheed Philly is great, but they don’t do much locally,” according to Dr. Marjprie Allen, Chair of Integrative studies and active member of Exploring Nutrition.

Because of the lack of programs within the Lasallian community, Exploring Nutrition works to establish community health databases and nutritional food resources for those who reside within the radius of the university by providing complete and up-to-date food access maps, nutrition education, and access to fresh produce.

To accomplish such goals, La Salle has partnered with other big organizations such as  Fresh Grocer and  Einstein Hospital that share the same mission as those who participate in Exploring Nutrition.

“It was a natural partnership for both La Salle and Fresh Grocer.” said Allen.

With fresh produce being extremely expensive, these organizations work together to  not only distribute food and resources to poverty stricken communities, but also educates families on how to eat healthy while on a budget in hopes to decrease food insufficiency in urban areas.

So far, the program has conducted projects like the Easter food drive, mommy and me nutrition classes, Adolescent cooking program, community health fairs, and many others to help the community.

“Churches and mosque are the stable institutions for the community,” says Allen.

The only way to resolve the food disparity within urban communities is if more organizations come together collectively to identify and explore the absence of particular resources needed to help these communities flourish.

Sistas Helping Sistas


Sisters Returning Home

Jesus forgives and so does the ladies of Caanan Baptist Church.


Sign of Organization

Located on 302 West Schoolhouse Lane, Sisters Returning Home is a program ran by  Caanan Baptist Church that gives incarcerated women second chances at life by helping them make the transition from being convicts to successful women in society.

The organization helps each woman by pairing them with a case manager, who counsels members by helping each women determine their goals that they would like to accomplish for the present year.


Sims going over daily task

“They do want to succeed, but they have so many barriers, financial barriers,” says Peggy Sims, program director of Sisters Returning Home.

As a way to help these women get over the barriers found  in society, the organization assists with finding jobs and housing for the members of the program by providing them with referrals to a number of available resources and job opportunities in the community.

This non-profit organization has worked extensively to provide each women with access to food banks to feed their families, welcome home baskets filled with hygiene products, and even suitable attire for  the women who land job interviews.


Awards and achievements of the program

For such great effectiveness in helping the community, Sisters Returning home have received  many rewards from the Pennsylvania office of Commonwealth from Gov., Tom Corbett and Sen. Washington


Shot of Sisters Returning Home

Although the organization has greatly contributed to the community, Sims also voices her concern regarding funding for the program due to a lack of support from the community. She hopes that within the next year there will be more government laws and organizations geared to help ex-convicts.

In order to help our fellow sisters return home we must all understand that these are our sisters, our mothers, our friends who have made mistakes. That in order to become better people, each of us need to advocate for this program and others like it who open the door to individuals who many have turned their backs against.


La Salle student working along with leaders of the program to better social media tools.

Pheed Philadelphia


Pheed Philadelphia

There are huge inequalities in access that causes many economic problems for people all over the world. One of the biggest inequalities that lie in the social classes is the distribution of food, especially healthy food. Many people who are homeless or  a part of the poor working class face the challenge of finding ways to properly nourish themselves and their families due to their low income. This disturbing fact becomes increasingly prevalent in our own city.

Recently, Philadelphia ranked 8th as one of  the cities where an appealing amount of Americans do not have enough food. In fact, 60 percent of these citizens asking for emergency food assistance  are of the working class. Because of the increase in hunger, many groups have come together to try  help feed at risk people in Philadelphia.

Pheed Philadelphia is a community service group at La Salle University that helps  those less fortune by providing them with healthy meals. Established in 2011, this student-ran program works with different soup kitchens to ensure that distribution of food are available to everyone, regardless of class or income.  Some of the many groups that Pheed works with are Face to Face,Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, St. Francise Inn, and Sarnelli House.

” La Salle students will work towards fighting hunger in the Philadelphia area through active involvement in local soup kitchens, dining halls, and on-campus awareness programs, advocating for the elimination of hunger and poverty.”says UMAS, La Salle University Ministry and Service.

With such a huge task at hand, Pheed Philadelphia looks for new groups to emerge with and volunteers to help make their mission a little easier. This program reaches out for students willing to work at least once a week at one of the many sites that they work with. If you are a student on LaSalle’s campus, you should definitely look into helping out. It is a great way to meet people and give back to the community.