Herald American

Downey hires health consultant

DOWNEY — In an effort to promote residents health, the City Council has hired a consultant, not a doctor, to come up with an overall healthy Downey strategic plan.

Corral Consulting of Glendale, using $22,520 from a Kaiser Permanente community benefit grant, will map out directions, goals and procedures for Healthy Downey Partners, a group of locally based businesses, medical personnel and local and county health officials organized in 2013 by former Councilman Mario Guerra.

The consultants will work with a part-time parks and recreation staff member to coordinate events and programs to promote a healthy life style, said Arlene Salazar, director of that department.

Healthy Downey Partners includes representatives from Kaiser Permanente, Coca Cola, CareMore Health Care, the Downey YMCA, Downey Unified School District, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, the Los Angeles County Department of Health, Downey Adult School, the Downey Patriot, the Downey Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Office of Education, based in Downey; and the Human Services Association.

Salazar said Downey Health Partners in 2013 sought to create a healthier city focusing on health and nutrition.

It seeks to change behaviors by encouraging nutritional habits to lead to improved healthy eating and to provide improved access to physical activity and opportunities, Salazar said in a written report to Council Jan. 27.

She cited reports from the county Health Department that Downey has a 24.3 percent prevalence of adult obesity compared to 23.9 percent county-wide while 21.2 percent of Downey children are considered obese, as compared to 23 percent for the entire county.

Corral Consulting has prepared similar health-related plans for nonprofit groups such as First 5 LA, the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health and UCLA Center for Healthier Children.

During the past two years, Downey Health Partners and the city have promoted exercise via bicycling.

In a related move Jan. 27, the City Council directed staff to seek a grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to establish a city-wide master bicycle plan and paint bike lanes on 17 miles of city streets.

Public Works Director Mohammad Mostahkami said the program would cost about $2.5 million, with the city required to supply $500,000.

The project would include placing 90 bicycle racks on city streets, he added.