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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

USDA is Expanding Healthy Food Aid to Women, Infants, Children

About 9 million low-income women and young children receive federal food assistance under the U.S. government's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and Latino mothers and their kids make-up over 40% of participants. Soon these families will have greater access to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains under changes to the program unveiled on February 28, 2014. In its final form, the overhaul will boost by 30%, or $2 per month, the allowance for each child's fruit and vegetable purchases, and permit fresh produce in lieu of jarred infant food for babies, if their parents prefer. The update also expands whole grain options available to recipients and allows yogurt as a partial milk substitute, adding to the soy-based ...

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School Food Official Helps Bring Water to Every Desk!

Cutler-Orosi is the largest unincorporated community in one of the poorest counties in California. Located in the largely Latino region called the San Joaquin Valley, more than half of the men and women who live here are migrant farm workers. Poverty limits food and beverage choices to what’s cheap, easy, and not always healthy. One school district food services director, Brenda Handy, went above and beyond to ensure that, while kids were at school, they were not only eating well, but drinking well, too. Tackling the 'Soda Issue' Ever since Brenda Handy started as food services director for the 95% Latino Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District in California’s San Joaquin Valley more than four years ago, she saw students struggle to maintain healthy weights. She noticed ...

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Austin Pediatrician Announces Sugary Drink Challenge

Latinos tend to drink more sugary drinks than their peers. In fact, a study found that about 22 percent of Latino high-school students drink three or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day, compared with 19.6 percent of white students. As a pediatrician, Dr. Marta Katalenas knows what it takes for kids to live healthy lives, and sugary juices and sodas aren't part of the picture. She has challenged her Austin, Texas community to stop buying sodas and sugary drinks at the grocery store as part of her 2014 Monthly New Year’s Resolution challenge. Each month since January, Dr. Katalenas has been challenging families to stick to a small healthy change for that month. For March, she is urging folks to stop bringing sugary drinks home from the store. If the drinks aren't in the ...

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Study: Soda Industry Played Behind-the-Scenes Role to Influence Media and Debate in Failed Soda Tax Efforts

Soda tax proposals, which studies show could help Latino children drink less sugary drinks, have been popping up around the country in recent years. In this KQED photo from a story about the Richmond soda tax campaign, a customer at La Raza market in Richmond talks with a paid organizer for the community coalition against beverage taxes.Source: http://blogs.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2012/08/09/soda-industry-spending-big-to-defeat-richmond-beverage-tax/The California cities of San Francisco and Berkeley, and the state of Illinois, are among those currently weighing such taxes.In 2012, two California cities with large Latino populations, Richmond and El Monte, failed in their attempts to pass a tax on sugary drinks. A new study by Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) analyzed the role the ...

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Grocery Store Brings Hope and Life Back into North Philly

North Philadelphia has seen hard times. Factories that closed years ago took money and jobs with them, leaving the community depressed and struggling with climbing rates of poverty and crime. A full-service grocery store that sold fresh fruits and vegetables did not exist. But the story is taking a new direction these days, and many folks in the community attribute that to the new supermarket. The new Brown's ShopRite, which sit where an abandoned building once did, finally opened its doors in August 2013, and the community has been praising it ever since. Besides creating jobs and hiring at-risk youth, the store offers high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables, something this neighborhood hasn't seen in a long time. With rates of childhood obesity on the rise, ...

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North Carolina Congregation Teams Up with the United Way on a Mobile Market

The Warnersville neighborhood south of downtown Greensboro is considered a food desert, a low-income area designated by the USDA that lacks a super market within a one-mile radius. But the community, with some help from state grants, has been working to grow healthy food for families right there in the neighborhood. The congregation at  Prince of Peace Lutheran Church was looking for a way to serve their community  and when the health department was looking for a gardening space, the church jumped at the chance to use their land. They now host a community garden on the church’s property, and a new program will also build greenhouses there. This year, a United Way grant of $15,000 will be used to create a mobile market that will bring the garden-fresh produce to ...

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Webinar: Should Texas Consider a Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages?

Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages is considered by many public health experts and policymakers to be one of the best strategies to improve the nation's nutrition and raise revenue for health programs. Studies show that Latino children drink more sugary drinks than their peers; if the cost of these drinks went up, it could encourage kids to pick something healthier. This webinar examines the evidence behind this policy proposal with two of the nation's leading experts on the subject, Dr. Kelly Brownell and Roberta Friedman of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Dr. Steven Kelder, Co-Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, will discuss the potential outcomes of implementing such a policy in Texas. Check out the webinar ...

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Update: Latino Store Owner Transitions to a Healthy Food Business

UPDATE: Garcia's grocery store, Alba Snacks & Services, officially re-opened in March 2014, offering several new options of fresh fruit, like bananas and oranges, and healthy snack foods like applesauce. Because his crowd-funding goal was met, Garcia will eventually add more fresh produce as well as a stock of student supplies, a computer lab, and a remittance service where people can transfer money to their home countries. The grand re-opening event held March 30th was well attended by local leaders and folks from the community. With a school two blocks away, health advocates (including Garcia) hope that the store will encourage youth to make smart, healthy snack choices. Read more here.  From February 18, 2014:  After college, Nelson Garcia moved from his home ...

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Study: Taxing Sugary Drinks and Job Growth

A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) predicts that taxing sugary drinks would not have any significant negative impact on employment. In fact, the study suggests that there may even be modest job gains. This study focused on the impact of a tax in California and Illinois, and the researchers expect the overall results would be similar in other states In addition to net job gains and significant health savings, a tax on these beverages would be expected to raise over $500 million in Illinois and nearly $1billion in California, according to the study. Read more here. Check out Bridging the Gap's issue brief on the ...

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