Kern Public Health unveiled a pilot nutrition and fitness campaign that will rotate around the county–starting in Buttonwillow.

The ‘Know Your Numbers’ initiative encourages residents to keep track of their health–including cholesterol level, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

Supported by $10,000 from the Buttonwillow Foundation, Public Health is offering free nutrition and fitness classes every Tuesday and Thursday for 12 weeks. They’re also providing free health screenings at the Buttonwillow Recreation Center.

Another reason they’re launching in Buttonwillow includes the town’s demographics: a 78 percent Latino population.

“(It’s especially important) here in the Hispanic community, because typically Hispanic diets are very rich, very high fat, very high salt,” said Public Health nurse Rosa Hernandez.

The program is another step in Public Health’s goal to fight chronic diseases in Kern County, especially diabetes and heart disease.

“We’re not making diagnoses. We just want to let people know what their numbers are,” Hernandez said.

According to Brynn Carrigan, the assistant director of Public Health, 75 percent of Kern County adults are either obese or overweight–a significant risk factor for chronic diseases.

“Unfortunately here in Kern County, you’re more likely to die from diabetes than anywhere else in the state of California,” Carrigan said.

It’s a statistic they’re hoping to burn off–helping the community take their first steps to better health in the long run.

Public Health hopes to expand this program countywide early next year. For more information, call 321-3000, or visit