Water Champions Push H2O for Latino Kids, Families



Water isn't magic, but it can help you stay hydrated, control calories, and fuel muscles. But Latino kids don't drink enough water. In fact, Latino kids drink less plain water and more sugary drinks than white kids. That is according to research by Salud America!, a national Latino childhood obesity prevention network at UT Health San Antonio. That’s why we are spotlighting heroes who work hard to push water for Latino kids and families! Praxina Guerra: 5th-Grader Gets Hydration Station in School San Antonio fifth-grader Praxina Guerra and her mentor, Cathy Lopez, are true Salud Heroes when it comes to creating a healthy school environment. Praxina, spurred on by Lopez, joined the city's San Antonio Student Ambassador program and created a student club to encourage ...

Read More

Teachers Who Went Above and Beyond for Students, Communities



What makes a great teacher? Great teachers not only work hard to ensure the academic success and leadership skills of their students, they also help students develop healthy habits for life. That's why we at Salud America! are excited to spotlight some teachers who have gone above and beyond for the well-being of their students! Ana Suffle: School Garden Maven El Paso, Texas, shares its border with Mexico. This creates an interesting cultural dynamic where some students cross the border daily from Mexico to go to Bowie High School in El Paso. Ana Suffle, a 15-year teacher at Bowie, said many students eat cheap, addictive fast food instead of traditional Hispanic dishes filled with fresh veggies, spices and tons of flavor, according to a Salud Hero story by Salud ...

Read More

Mom Group Gives Swag Bags to Help Nursing Moms


Latino Health breastfeeding

After Nikki Van Strien delivered her first son in Mesa, Ariz. (30.5% Latino), she realized the discharge package given to all new moms by the hospital could undermine a woman’s breastfeeding goals by pushing formula. She wanted to do something to support breastfeeding moms immediately after delivery. In 2011, Van Strien and some other moms developed the AZ Breastfeeding Bag Project to provide all new breastfeeding mothers with a bag filled with educational material and breastfeeding supply samples. They became a non-profit and recruited volunteers and donations to reach new mothers birthing in the hospital, birth center, or home. Breastfeeding Rates Low in Arizona Nikki Van Strien, a new mom in Mesa, Ariz., wanted to connect with other moms for support. She joined a local group she ...

Read More

Food Pantry Thinks Outside the Box to Bring Healthy Food to Latinos in Need



Providing a week’s worth of healthy food and toiletries to families in need is the goal of Jessie Fisher and her nonprofit food pantry, the Randolph Area Christian Assistance Program (RACAP), in Schertz, Texas (29.3% Latino). But when food demand grew faster than the supply, Fischer and RACAP had to think quickly. They set up partnerships to gather leftover food from restaurants and grocers, pick up unwanted fruit from residents’ yards, and receive meat donations from hunters. They also launched food drives that yielded thousands of pounds of healthy food for Latino and other families during high-demand summer times. Food Insecurity in Schertz Schertz, Texas (29.3% Latino population) is a fast-rising, increasingly Latino (18.1% in 2000 and 26.6% in 2014) community just north ...

Read More

Parks Workers Create ‘Health’ Scavenger Hunt in San Antonio



City parks worker Michael Baldwin saw rampant physical inactivity and disease in San Antonio, Texas (68% Latino). To help, he wanted to attract people to existing health programs and services in city parks. Baldwin and his team, through local collaborations, developed Fit Pass, a city-wide scavenger hunt for wellness and physical activities. People can download a phone app or a bilingual Fit Pass passport that can be stamped for attending some of 2,300 activities across San Antonio parks, incentivizing Latino families to get physically active and play in parks. Physical Inactivity in San Antonio Michael Baldwin, special projects manager with the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department (Parks Department) in San Antonio, Texas, has helped develop and implement ...

Read More

Local RDN’s Promote Nutrition Through Popular Magazine



Many people have a favorite magazine that they enjoy reading, whether it is the latest celebrity news, world affairs, or sports stories; but what if there was a magazine that also offered nutritional advice, supplied healthy recipes, and disseminated the latest health information all in a way you could understand? That’s exactly what registered dietitians and a local magazine in Phoenix, Ariz., joined forces to do to reach their community. EMERGENCE Awareness: In summer 2014, Maria Silva worked as a registered dietitian within St. Vincent de Paul’s Family Wellness Program in Phoenix. The Family Wellness Program, begun in 1999, aims to boost the health of local Latino families, from a provision of medical and dental care to healthy lifestyle services for healthy eating, making ...

Read More

Community Health Centers Engage Latinos in Mental Health, Nutrition, Fitness



Many Latinos in Minnesota get “left out,” of the healthcare picture. That’s why HealthFinders Collaborative aims to provider healthcare and services to marginalized families in Rice county, nearly 50 miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But HealthFinders leaders like Charlie Mandile continued to identify gaps in local healthcare. Mandile and his team came up with a solution a few years ago: the Pura Vida Healthy Lifestyles Program, an effort to bring free preventive health and fitness classes to the local rapidly growing Latino population. How has the effort paid off? Gaps in Latino health in Minnesota HealthFinders Collaborative, community health centers in Northfield, Minn. (8% Latino population), and Faribault, Minn. (11.74% Latino population) formed to ...

Read More

Health Worker Starts Free Fitness in the Park



Pete Garcia spent several years as a personal trainer in San Antonio, learning first-hand that many residents in at-risk parts of the city struggled with obesity and related health problems. So when Garcia became the city’s supervisor of athletics and programs, he wanted to develop and implement programs that would increase access to physical activity opportunities for at-risk residents across the city.\ With grant funding and the city’s formation of the Mayor’s Fitness Council a few years ago, Garcia was able to capitalize on partnerships and collaboration to develop the “Fitness in the Park” program to provide free fitness classes in parks in each of the city’s 10 council districts. San Antonio Inactive and Unhealthy Pete Garcia worked for many years as a ...

Read More

Local Nurse Provides Healthy School Snack Workshops



Registered nurse Derek Dimas learned kids need to eat healthier to help decrease the high rates of obesity in his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas (50.7 % Latino). By starting a program to help kids see fruits and vegetables as delicious works of art, students in schools across the city are having fun learning how to create and enjoy healthier snacks. EMERGENCE Awareness: In spring 2014, Derek Dimas, a nursing student at the time, was certain he wanted to make a huge impact on the overall health of his community of Corpus Christi in Nueces County. While taking an epidemiology class, Dimas reviewed data and learned that the city had record-high levels of obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. About 42% of local Latinos and blacks are overweight or obese, he said. “For some ...

Read More

Neighbors and Leaders Calm Traffic on Scary Street



Neighborhood leaders and residents like Paul D. López and Fany Mendez in the Denver, Colo., neighborhood of Westwood worked together with local organizations to tackle safety concerns on Morrison Road, an arterial street that bisected their neighborhood. In addition to safety issues, they were also concerned about health, because kids can’t play and people can’t walk on busy, unsafe streets. Their efforts led to a pedestrian-activated traffic light, traffic calming features, medians, and aesthetically-pleasing infrastructure and landscaping to make the road more accessible to all. Unsafe Street Scares Kids and Families Paul D. López, the District 3 City Councilmember in Denver, Colo. (31.8% Latino), grew up a few blocks from his current office on Morrison Road, a busy main ...

Read More