As the nation’s Latino population continues to grow, so does the size of its people. The rate of obesity among Latinos is on the rise, officials said, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday released its first Spanish translation of the food pyramid. “The fact that the Latino community has an obesity problem is not new news in the San Gabriel Valley, especially among our children. Their needs to be education on healthier eating habits and exercise,” Baldwin Park Councilwoman Marlen Garcia said. “I think a Spanish version is great and I think (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) is taking the right step.” MyPyramid is the government’s guide to healthy eating and nutrition. It was launched in April as a replacement to the first food pyramid created in 1992. The new food pyramid represents food groups vertically as opposed to the traditional horizontal layers, gives essential food proportions and ad- dresses the importance of exercise. Garcia said this year the Baldwin Park Unified School District, which is 85 percent Latino, removed sodas from schools districtwide and is working to give students healthier eating options. Similarly, the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, which is also a highly Latino school district, has made changes in its menu. “Fresh fruit is offered every day, and we use whole-grain bread,” Michelle Bukowski, assistant director of food services, said. “We are here to feed the students, but also to teach them good eating habits they might not be getting at home.” Although children have time to change the way they eat, a 2002 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association said three out of every four adult Latinos in the United States are overweight. Overall, in the United States, two out of three people are overweight, according to the AMA. While the food pyramid focuses on proper portions of foods like whole grain bread, poultry, dark green veggies and fruit, common staples in Latino households tend to include tortillas, beans and rice. “When we get together as family, it’s old recipes like tamales, posole and generally fat foods, but it tastes good,” said Alejandra Rodriguez, 35, of Baldwin Park. “When we make our beans we make them with lard and it’s not healthy, but they’re Latino traditions.” Dr. Robert Riewerts, chief of pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Baldwin Park, said obesity is prevalent not only in Latinos, but in other ethnicities as well. “We do see a large Latino population here, but I think the problem with obesity is apparent in all cultures,” Riewerts said. “And the reality is that an increase in obesity means an increase in health problems like liver disease and diabetes.” In September, a version of the pyramid aimed at children was launched, and materials have also been translated into Braille. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!