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Alyssa Gonzales

Articles by Alyssa Gonzales

10,000 People Speak Up and USDA Expands Free School Meals for All Students!


Students eating lunch

The USDA has sought comments on a proposed rule to increase the number of high-poverty schools that can offer free school meals for all students. The proposal would expand the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) by lowering the minimum identified student percentage participation threshold from 40% to 25%. That means more schools and districts can opt into the CEP, which can: Increase school meal participation. Reduce stigma. maximize federal reimbursements. eliminate unpaid meal charges. reduce paperwork for school staff and families. “Many schools and even some entire states have successfully provided free meals to all their students,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We applaud their leadership in nourishing children and hope this proposed ...

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Healthcare Coverage Low among Latinos, Regardless of Education


Latina going over insurance options.

Healthcare coverage rates are better among people with higher education levels. But Latinos still face some of the largest health insurance coverage gaps among racial/ethnic groups, no matter their education level, new Census research shows. “Those identifying as American Indian and Alaska Native ... or Hispanic had the highest uninsured rates at all education levels,” according to the Census Bureau. Let’s dive deeper into the differences in education level and uninsured rates by race and ethnicity, with a close look at Latinos. What Is the State of Latino Educational Attainment? 20.8% of Latinos age 25 to 64 had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2021, according to Census data. This is a lower rate than 60.8% of Asians (non-Hispanic), 41.5% of Whites (non-Hispanic), and ...

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Build Health Equity with AHA’s Online Lessons and Toolkits


Man on computer

The American Heart Association (AHA) is working to boost health equity through a variety of online health lessons, called EmPOWERED to Serve. EmPOWERED to Serve includes over a dozen science-based toolkits and lessons covering health education and community advocacy. Toolkits are free and open to the public and can be reached on the EmPOWERED to Serve Health Lessons website. “The EmPOWERED to Serve health lessons offer a way to engage and motivate communities to create a culture of health,” according to the AHA website. Let’s dive into why these health lessons are a useful and how they can be beneficial for all! Health Disparities Among Communities Where you live can have a big impact on your health. In fact, our health is influenced by a variety of non-medical ...

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74,000 People Support More Nutritious School Meals for Students!


Girl receiving lunch at school.

The USDA is proposing stronger nutrition standards for school meals to give kids the right balance of nutrients for healthy and appealing meals. The new plan for stronger nutrition standards for school meals includes incrementally reducing sodium, a limit on added sugars (for the first time), and emphasizing whole grain products, while continuing to serve fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. USDA wants your feedback on its proposed changes. May 2023 Update: 438 Salud America! members submitted a model comment and were among over 74,000 people overall to comment on USDA’s proposed school meal nutrition changes. The model comment was created by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio in partnership with UnidosUS! After a one-month time extension, the USDA closed the public ...

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Number of Latinas in Higher Education Continues to Grow


Latina on graduation day

As the US Latino population continues to grow, so does the representation of Latinas. Today, the Latina population has grown at a faster rate than Latino men, with 24% of Latinas making up the total population (compared to a 22% growth for Latino men). With this increase also comes more Latinas in higher education. Latinas have experienced a 52% rise in college degree attainment at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) from 2015 to 2020, according to a new report from Excelencia in Education. In 2020, Latinas earned over 300,000 degrees at HSIs (growth of 52%) compared to 188,000 degrees earned by Latino men at HSIs (growth of 44%). Let’s dive into the growth and numbers of Latinas in higher education. Latina College Enrollment & HSIs As of Fall 2020, almost half ...

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Why Aren’t Children Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables?


Child eating vegetables.

Nutritious food is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for children. However, a February 2023 CDC report shows that many children ages 1-5 are not eating fruits and vegetables daily and are regularly drinking sugary beverages. “In 20 states, more than one half of children did not eat a vegetable daily during the preceding week. In 40 states and the District of Columbia, more than one half of children drank a sugar-sweetened beverage at least once during the preceding week,” according to the CDC. Let’s dive deeper and find out the state of diets among Latinos and all children, the role of healthy food access, and how we can create healthier food environments for children. The State of Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Consumption The new CDC report paints a grim ...

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The State of Latino Sleep


Woman having trouble sleeping.

The average adult should sleep about 7-10 hours a day. But a person may get more (or less) sleep depending on the season, according to a recent study from researchers in Berlin, Germany. “Even in an urban population experiencing disrupted sleep, humans experience longer REM sleep in winter than summer and less deep sleep in autumn,” according to a news release about the sleep study. “In general, societies need to adjust sleep habits including length and timing to season, or adjust school and working schedules to seasonal sleep needs.” This begs a few questions. What other factors impact sleep? Are Latinos affected differently? Let’s explore the topic of sleep for Latinos, why it’s important, and factors that can impact it! Sleep Can Differ Between Races and ...

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South Texas Scientists Link Obesity to Alzheimer’s Gene


Tape measure and scale

Researchers from UT Health San Antonio have tied obesity to with 21 Alzheimer’s disease-related genes. In analyzing 74 Alzheimer’s-related genes from the Framingham Heart Study, researchers found that 21 of them were either under-expressed or over-expressed in obesity. “Several of the genes were more strongly related to obesity in midlife versus in late life, and also to obesity in women versus men,” said Dr. Claudia Satizabal, study lead author and assistant professor of population health sciences at UT Health San Antonio. Alzheimer’s Genes Linked to Obesity The UT Health San Antonio study also found 13 Alzheimer’s-related genes were associated with body mass index (BMI) and eight genes associated with a second metric of obesity called waist-to-hip ratio. “Those ...

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1,600+ People Want to Allow WIC Participants to Shop Online for Food!


Pregnant women ordering online.

The USDA is proposing to make online food shopping an option for families in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Up to now, WIC participants had to use vouchers or electronic benefits cards (EBT) at the store. With the proposed changes, participants could shop online for groceries – a move that aims to improve the WIC shopping experience while increasing equity and access to nutritious foods for WIC participants, thus positively impacting nutrition security. May 2023 Update: 329 Salud America! members submitted a model comment and were among over 1,600 people overall to USDA’s proposed changes to enable WIC participants to shop online for food. The model comment was created by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio in ...

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