Health Education: Getting this Father Back on His Feet

Jose, or “J.B.” as he is known to family and friends, is a janitor for a building in Tarija, Bolivia. With a friendly demeanor and outlook on life, he is beloved by the entire community.

Unfortunately, like many in Tarija, J.B. was threatened by inter-generational poor health.

"For my work, I have a sedentary life with little exercise, and the truth is that one eats what he learned to eat growing up. We repeat recipes from generation to generation which apparently are not healthy, because over time I was diagnosed with two diseases: obesity and diabetes. This situation forced me to look for the doctor."

A Discouraging Diagnosis

It was through this medical journey that J.B. discovered Esperança’s support group for patients with noncommunicable diseases, through an invitation made to him by the nutritionist. The patient support group is the first of its kind to be implemented in five health centers around the city of Tarija.

"From the first time I participated I liked the idea of talking about what we eat and how to switch to healthy food. I didn't know! I thought eating healthy was dieting... and just hearing the word “diet” made me think that I have to eat only vegetables and go hungry," he says, smiling.

Through Esperança’s support groups, J.B. discovered what it meant to be holistically healthy by learning healthier alternatives to his favorite dishes and how to exercise in his home.

Healthy Living is a Change in Attitude

"Participating in the sessions helped me understand the diseases I have, how I can prevent them for my children and (the most beautiful thing) learn about healthy food, which does not mean eating less, but rather more varied.”

"Eating healthy is a great challenge because it involves changing daily habits - it implies a change of attitude! Being part of the project, I learned to cook healthier and I improved my health. I now know how to be around for my family as long as possible, even with these diseases.”

During his participation in the sessions, J.B. lowered both his weight and blood sugar levels and passed on this knowledge and healthy habits to his children. Though he still has goals to meet, with his complete change of attitude we foresee he will achieve them in no time!

Donate today to support another father like J.B. on the road to a healthier life!

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