BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Our Lady of the Lake has a second location for its Geaux Get Healthy program. It is an initiative that helps reduce food insecurity in the community.

Louisiana consistently ranks high in adult obesity rates compared to other states. That number is even higher for children.

“But also hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol levels and that overall insulin resistance that we see,” stated Tiffany Wesley Ardoin, Program Director & Principal Investigator, Geaux Get Healthy.

Ardoin says that even though just five percent of the population that lives near the clinic struggles with food insecurity, they still struggle with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “Because it’s not necessarily a food desert, but we did have a lot of people in need, more so for the education because they may have access to healthy foods, but they do not know how to utilize the healthy foods,” she continued.

That’s why Our Lady of the Lake’s Geaux Get Healthy program will now offer free cooking classes, grocery shopping tours, and tips on how to better protect your health. “Then they get one free box with the hopes that they can continue to order at a lower cost and a sustainable way, along with a $10 gift card to Dollar General,” Ardoin announced.

Community Impact Director for the American Heart Association, Tracey Druilhet says the program doesn’t just offer tips for what to buy at the grocery store, but also what to do once you’re in the kitchen.

“Definitely start by eating breakfast, making sure you’re not adding salt or thinking about the salt that you’re adding because a lot of products already have salt. So the Heart Association would recommend using garlic powder and onion powder and paprika,” said Druilhet.

Their plan for the future is to expand to communities that struggle more with food insecurity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “We’re hoping to really expand and help the Gardere area and eventually expand to a Hispanic population,” Ardoin claimed.