Our Challenge: Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle in West Contra Costa County
- According to a study, more than half (56.2%) of Contra Costa adults were either overweight or obese.
- In the greater Bay Area, low-income adults and American Indian/Alaska Native, African American and Latino adults were more likely to be obese than adults in the region overall.
- In 2008, almost one-fifth (18.6%) of Contra Costa adults reported that they did not participate in any physical activity in the past month.
- In parts of Richmond and San Pablo, there is a lack of access to affordable, healthy foods and safe places to be active.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that communities create environments that foster healthy lifestyle choices by implementing strategies to increase healthy eating and physical activity:
Overweight Adults (BMI 25+) in the
Greater Bay Area
Contra Costa County
Before founding Weigh of Life, Jan Schilling served as a Registered Dietician for 50 years. Throughout her career, she watched the CDC track the incidence of overweight and obese individuals in the United States. When she began her career, 15 percent of the population was overweight or obese; when she retired, that number had grown to 67 percent, with the highest rates among diverse populations in low-income areas, such as Richmond and San Pablo.
Further, residents in low-income neighborhoods often have barriers to achieving healthy lifestyles that higher-income neighborhoods do not. High crime rates and unsafe spaces prevent residents from getting outdoor exercise, and the high cost of gyms and health clubs are often prohibitive.
Weigh of Life was created so that individuals at any income level who want to improve their exercise and nutrition habits and promote preventive health can do so in a safe and supportive environment.
Who We Serve
Weigh of Life engages 500 participants per week, 98 percent of whom are native Spanish speakers, in a range of activities related to health, wellness, education, and economic improvement.
Weigh of Life Accomplishments Since 2006
Teachers who Started as Students
Number of Students Helped Since 2006
Lesson Locations in West CC County
Current Number of Members
Participants that are losing weight. 20-25% are maintaining a healthy weight (BMI between 20-25).
Weight lost by our current administrator.
Since 2006, we have helped 15,000 Richmond and San Pablo residents achieve a healthy weight and a balanced diet.
Challenges and Solutions
- Challenge: Need safe and convenient place for regular exercise.
- Solution: Weigh of Life offers exercise classes at four locations around Richmond and San Pablo. Childcare is provided.
- Challenge: Commercial gyms are cost-prohibitive for many.
- Solution: Through fundraising, Weigh of Life offers exercise classes at a low cost.
- Challenge: Healthy fruits and vegetables are expensive and not readily available in many neighborhoods.
- Solution: Through a partnership with Urban Tilth, Weigh of Life offers discounts at $10 per box for organic fruit and vegetable boxes with pickups arranged at the exercise class locations.
- Challenge: Many people are not familiar with how to prepare healthy low-fat meals.
- Solution: Weigh of Life offers cooking classes.
We provide regular high-impact aerobic fitness classes every week at community centers in the underserved areas of Richmond and San Pablo. Classes include including Zumba, step aerobics, and kickboxing. See the Class Descriptions page for more information.
Classes include healthy eating demonstrations, cooking tips, and information on balanced diets.
Child supervision is offered so that parents — the gatekeepers to their families’ fitness and nutrition habits — can achieve and promote healthy lifestyles. When parents are exercising, we ensure that children stay active, too. Our child supervision has anywhere from 30-60 minutes of outdoor physical activity and opportunities to develop social skills.
Weigh In Opportunities
To help participants achieve their goal of weight loss or maintenance, participants may choose to track their weight one day per week at each site. In fact, several physicians at Kaiser Richmond, LifeLong Medical Care, and other local health care providers refer patients to Weigh of Life for weight management.
Job Training and English Skills
Weigh of Life is a partner with RichmondWORKS, which received a grant award from the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the California Workforce Development Board and the Employment Development Department in the amount of $300,000 to fund Project IMPACTO. Project IMPACTO (Immigrant Participants Accessing Career Training Opportunities) will serve 75 English Language Learners with basic skills, GED and High School Diplomas, career technical education in growth sectors, job placement and support services.
Our Supporters and Community Partners
Weigh of Life is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides opportunities for families to enjoy improving their health through exercise classes, nutrition education and social support.
Veterans Memorial Hall
968 23rd St
Richmond, CA 94804
Nevin Community Center
598 Nevin Ave
Richmond, CA 94801
Shields Reid Community Center
1410 Kelsey St
Richmond, CA 94801
Helms Middle School
2500 Rd 20
San Pablo, CA 94806
(Open only during school year)