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Kennedy Sampson


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Articles by Kennedy Sampson

Latina Nutrition Leader Starts a School Food Pantry to Feed Hungry Kids in San Antonio


jenny arredondo

Jenny Arredondo knows some San Antonio students leave school and don't eat again until they return to school the next day. Many students live in poverty. Some don't know where their next meal is coming from. Arredondo wanted to help. Arredondo, senior executive director of child nutrition at San Antonio ISD, found a solution in Texas State Rep. Diego Bernal's new state law. Schools now can start "school food pantries" to accept and store donated food and surplus food from the cafeteria, and distribute that leftover food to hungry students. How could she start school food pantries at San Antonio ISD? Food Insecurity at San Antonio ISD U.S. Latino children and families often struggle with poverty and live in poverty stricken neighborhoods with abundant fast food but little ...

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Texas Policymaker Enables School Food Pantries to Save Leftover Food for Kids


latino kids in a school food lunch line

Texas State Rep. Diego Bernal had a simple question for school leaders in San Antonio. What's your biggest concern for students? Wasted food, they told him. In fact, Bernal toured schools in San Antonio (63.2% Latino) and learned leaders were frustrated with how much food is trashed and not given to students who live in poverty and have no food at home. Even in more affluent school districts, students were going hungry while schools threw away, “untouched, unopened, ripe, perfectly edible food,” Bernal told the San Antonio Express-News. Bernal was heartbroken. He wanted to do something. But how could he bring leftover school food to the mouths of hungry students? Children Going Hungry Bernal saw two types of hungry students in San Antonio. Students who are ...

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What Science Got Wrong and Right about Obesity


obesity photo

Several recent studies have shown that childhood obesity is on the decline. But are they right? Maybe not. New research indicates obesity rates among 2-5-years-olds have "sharply increased" and are at their highest since 1999, according to an interview by NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro of Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children's Hospital. Garcia-Navarro's interview with Dr. Ludwig explores what science and "short-term studies" got wrong about obesity. "When you look at short-term studies, movement in the result numbers can go up and down without any real meaning. Looking back, public health experts now know that the changes we thought we saw were really just statistical flukes, and that obesity rates among children are the highest ever," according to Dr. Ludwig on NPR. What Science ...

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8 Splashy Benefits of Swimming



Swimming is one of the most promising physical activities to get Latino kids active in and out of school. But as many as 6 in 10 Latinos do not know how to swim. Fortunately, people are stepping up to help. A Florida program gives out coupons for free swim safety classes. Detroit is combining swimming and literacy. And recently a Holocaust survivor helped a YWCA put together the Los Pecesitos ("The Little Fishes”) program to help Latino kids learn to swim in Tulsa, Okla. "What we know is that the drowning rates for children of color are two to three times higher than that of Caucasian children,” said Lacey Thompson Caywood, director of health and wellness for the Tulsa YWCA. “So there was a need for basic swim lessons.” In addition to preventing drowning, swim ...

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How to Survive the Worst Flu Season in a Decade


Teenage boy getting vaccination shot flu in his arm

The "worst flu season in a decade" flu has killed 84 children and remains widespread in 48 states, according to USA Today. And it's expected to continue for several more weeks. Fortunately, there is still time to protect yourself and your family! Even if you missed getting the flu vaccine months ago, health experts still recommended you get vaccinated—it can lessen flu severity, keep people from the hospital, and save lives. "Any type of vaccine is better than none," Scott Hensley, a University of Pennsylvania microbiologist who has led studies that raised critical questions about the vaccine, told the Associated Press. This is big for Latinos, who are much less likely to get vaccinated than their peers. Why Get Vaccinated? 4 in 5 flu-associated deaths in children ...

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Latinos Are the Secret to Boosting Graduation Rates


Hispanic Student And Family Celebrating Graduation

Oregon's high-school graduation rate was shockingly low—72%—just a few years ago. But after the state hired its first ever "education innovation officer" and schools started finding unique ways to help Latino students graduate on time, the graduation rate rose 77% in 2017. "We try to remove barriers on the pathways students want to follow to make it as equitable as possible," Martha Guise, principal of Century High in Hillsboro, where the overall graduation rate soared partly due to improvements for Latinos, told the Oregononian. "We are getting better." Latinos and the Graduation Quandary The good news is that Latino high-school graduation rates reached an all-time high of 77.8% in the United States in 2015, buoyed by federal programs like the Every Student Succeeds Act, ...

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7 Big Childcare Changes that Are Making Kids Healthier


school food

Childcare centers are serving healthier food and pushing more physical activity than they did five years ago. But it's less clear that these changes are promoting health equity for Latinos and other minority children, according to a new report. The report, Early Care and Education Policies and Programs to Support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity: Best Practices and Changes Over Time, reviews policy and system changes in food service, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education (ECE) settings from 2011 to 2016. ECE settings include childcare centers, day care homes, Head Start programs, and preschools. The report was led by Healthy Eating Research. "The early childhood years are critical to the prevention of obesity," according to the report. "The role of ...

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Deportation and Mental Health


DACA advocates (via Immigration Wire)

Fear of deportation is a rising concern among many Latinos in the United States. People born here and people who have given up everything to move to the U.S., have to worry about being forced to leave the country after the Trump Administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and proposed use of "expedited removal." How does this fear impact a person's mental health? Changes Coming Fast and Furious The Trump Administration is proposing more usage of "expedited removal," as well as reduced family immigration and eliminating the Visa Lottery, The Nation reports. Expedited removal allows government officials to remove undocumented immigrants without allowing them to go before a judge. Since 2002, the law has only been used for immigrants who ...

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The Organization That’s Game-Changing Childhood Mental Health


multicultural latino teens sitting restaurant

Latino and other kids with mental health issues may not understand their feelings. Parents and schools may not know how to deal with children who experience trauma or depression. Sadly, this creates an environment where Latinos—already less likely than their white peers to use mental healthcare services—struggle with suicide and other poor health and academic outcomes. Mental Health America is here to help. How a Suicide Attempt Started It All Mental Health America formed more than 100 years ago. In the early 1900s, Clifford Beers was suffering from bipolar disorder after the death of his old brother. Beers attempted to take his own life by jumping off of a three story building. Clifford was severely injured and placed in an institution, where he reported being ...

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