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Jennifer Hamilton

Articles by Jennifer Hamilton

Healthy Summer Meals For Kids Only A Text Away

Free and reduced-price school meals help make sure that over 21 million kids get at least two meals a day, but what happens during the summer? That’s where the No Kid Hungry program can help. They created a resource where families can text ‘FOOD’ (for English responses) or ‘COMIDA’ (for Spanish responses) to 877-877 and receive locations providing summer meals nearest the zip code entered. Without programs like these, 6 out of 7 kids who are able to get free and reduced-price lunches during the school year might not have access to nutritious meals in the summer. Of those enrolled in nutrition programs at school, Latino children make up 32% of kids receiving free lunches and 29.7% of kids receiving reduced lunches. For more information, go to NoKidHungry.org or text ...

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The School-to-Prison Pipeline is Slowing in Texas

School suspensions are usually thought of as the last resort punishment for severe disruptions in the classroom. But did you know that children as young as three years old are being sent home for behavior problems which could have been addressed with positive school supports? In June of 2017, Texas House Bill 674 was passed which prohibits so called “discretionary suspensions” in Pre-K through 2nd grade children. These types of suspensions create a zero tolerance policy which studies have shown lead to higher rates of school dropout, lower academic performance, and decreased academic performance. This effect is widely known as the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”. Reasons for discretionary suspensions include horseplay, dress code violation, and violation of classroom rules.  This ...

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Caffeine Use Among Kids on the Rise, Latinos May Be Targeted

Caffeine use among children is increasing.   Sodas as well as energy drinks are a major source of caffeine for kids. A recent study shows 29% of 7th and 8th graders can’t judge what has caffeine and what doesn’t. Between 30% and 50% of teens and young adults reported using energy drinks. Energy drinks account for up to 58% of a person’s beverage budget for those on government assistance. For Latinos, there are 22% more ads for energy drinks on Spanish radio as compared to English radio. This targeting to Latinos could increase future energy drink use in the Latino community. Why is this a problem? The American Academy of Pediatrics says caffeine might have health risks for kids. Sodas, energy drinks, or other caffeinated drinks often have large amounts of ...

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A Team Approach for Improving Access to Mental Health Care for Latino Children

One in five children ages 3 to 17 have a mental health condition. While most kids do not receive care for mental health conditions,  it is even less likely for a Latino child to see a mental health provider. Latino children made 58% fewer visits to any mental health provider compared to white children. Latino kids were also less likely than white or black children to see a doctor. In 2013-2014, only 11.6% of Latino kids under age 18 went to a doctor’s office or clinic compared to 7.4% of white and 8.6% of black kids. A lack of mental health care can impact a child in many aspects of life. Kids with untreated mental health conditions are at a higher risk of suspension from school, dropping out, and even have a higher risk of being put in jail. One way to bridge the gap is to ...

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Not A Childhood Rite of Passage: Bullying Hurts Latino Kids

Bullying is defined by stopbullying.gov as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance”. In grades 6-12, 28% of students experienced bullying and approximately 30% of kids admit to bullying others.   Most bullying occurs in school, although this can also happen on the internet and through cell phones. This is called cyberbullying. Rates of cyberbullying have nearly doubled over the past ten years from 18% in 2007 to 34% in 2016 as more kids have access to cell phones and social media. Kids who are bullied can experience physical, mental, and educational problems. Physical problems such as headaches, muscle pain, upset stomach, changes in weight, and decreased ability to fight infections are associated with the ...

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