updated 11/1/2010 12:16:29 PM ET 2010-11-01T16:16:29

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to the National Diabetes Education Program, more than 10 percent of Hispanics/Latinos over 20 years old in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes. To combat the prevalence of this disease White Memorial Medical Center (WMMC) has formed an exclusive partnership with popular and well-known Latina, Chef LaLa, to implement a health education and awareness campaign. The effort will target Los Angelenos with a mix of easy-to-use and culturally appealing nutritional and healthy cooking education to better manage diabetes for those most at-risk. Chef LaLa has been selected WMMC's official "healthy chef" spokeswoman to help encourage healthy eating and provide greater emphasis on managing diabetes and maintaining good health on a day-to-day basis.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8210

"Chef LaLa brings a wealth of practical knowledge and experience in healthy eating. As a master chef and accredited nutritionist, Chef LaLa knows what foods are wonderfully flavorful yet healthy," said Michael Chee, director of marketing and communications for WMMC. "We want this partnership to impel people in their daily routines and stimulate them to eat better using cooking demonstrations and events, special appearances and other outreach efforts. Chef LaLa's natural appeal and ability to talk to people in English and Spanish will help us reach households where dietary behavior must change in order to reduce the threat and impact of diabetes in at-risk populations."

Having grown up in East Los Angeles and as the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Chef LaLa understands Latino culture and flavor. She grew up in the kitchens of her family's California-based eateries and inherited her father's talent for cooking. "It's exhilarating to be partnered with White Memorial in this effort. It makes so much sense to bring my cooking skills and personal passion for nutrition to transform and help my community in a way that's never been done before," said Chef LaLa.

"Together with White Memorial's reputation for quality health care, I'm very excited about teaching people at home some healthy and yummy recipes so we can show the larger comunidad how to live better without sacrificing the flavors they love and enjoy - one meal at a time."

LaLa became a Professional Chef following an earlier devastating auto accident that left her unable to continue her burgeoning career as a singer and performer. Her interest in food fueled her desire to build a new career and she attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu before starting her own catering company, which has served celebrities, VIPs in entertainment and politics, and many others. She has catered for two U.S. Presidents and the current Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Chef LaLa's own family has a history of diabetes and she lost three of her grandparents to the destructive effects of the disease. This led to her personal motivation and interest in health and nutrition and to look for ways to make her cuisine more healthful. She strongly believes that "any cuisine, including ethnic cuisine, really can be good for you and still retain its sabor, or flavor." Chef LaLa is well educated in nutrition and is certified as a specialist in fitness nutrition, kids' nutrition, and lifestyle and weight management.

White Memorial Medical Center continues to serve the community by developing innovative programs to advance the health of those living in the surrounding communities. Healthy cooking and eating will be promoted throughout the hospital and community using various outreach activities. Chef LaLa's image and education materials will be prominently featured throughout White Memorial and her messages will become a core theme within all hospital communications. This partnership with Chef LaLa will provide practical, user-friendly education that promotes good eating habits for patients and their families, visitors, the general public, at-risk populations and other audiences expected to be influenced through Chef LaLa's various public appearances and activities.

White Memorial Medical Center is committed to providing professional, compassionate health care and our mission compels us to be more than just a hospital. As a result, White Memorial has become an economic engine for East Los Angeles that provides jobs, trains and develops a professional workforce, prepares a new generation of Latino physicians and nurses, engages in medical research and clinical trials, and focuses on wellness prevention and education, with an emphasis on Latino health care. Find more at www.whitememorial.com .

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