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Julia Weis

Julia Weis joined Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, in September 2020. With a degree in Communication from Trinity University, Julia has previously worked in journalism, marketing, graphic design, and technical writing. She loves biking and hiking in the Central Texas outdoors and is passionate about environmental and social justice issues.


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Articles by Julia Weis

Over 7,000 People Spoke Up for School Food Nutrition



7,492 people—including members of Salud America!—submitted public comments to address concerns over a USDA proposal to weaken school food nutrition standards. The proposal, brought forth on Nov. 25, 2020, would allow flavored, low-fat milk, cut whole grain-rich servings in half, and ease restrictions on sodium to enable nutrition directors more time to meet sodium reduction targets. The proposal was open for public comment from Nov. 25 to Dec. 28, 2020. A federal advisory committee will consider the public comments and release a finalized version of the rule in spring 2021, according to the School Nutrition Association. "For the health of Latino and all children, I urge the USDA to preserve strong nutrition standards for meals served in schools. Providing 'flexibility' by ...

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USDA Dietary Guidelines Ignore Expert Advice to Cut Back on Sugar and Alcohol



The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued their new dietary guidelines for 2020-2025. But they’re missing some important expert guidance: Reducing sugar and alcohol intake. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, made up of 20 expert scientists, advised that the USDA and HHS reduce suggested sugar intake be lowered from 10% to 6% of daily calories and that daily alcohol intake for men be reduced from two to one drink a day. Thousands of people, including many Salud America! members, spoke up in agreement over the past few years, pushing for these and other strong nutritional guidelines. Despite expert advice that these sugar and alcohol restrictions would help fight obesity and other health disparities, the ...

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What Are Latino Parents’ Top 10 Health Concerns for Kids?



As 2020 comes to an end, let’s take a look at health this year. In a year defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have several concerns about the health and safety of their children. Overuse of social media/screen time (72%), bullying/cyberbullying (62%), and Internet safety (62%) were parents top overall concerns, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health 2020. The survey asked a national sample of Latino, Black, and white parents to rate the top health concerns for U.S. children ages 0-18. “Overall, 8 of the Top 10 concerns most commonly rated by all parents as a ‘big problem’ are frequently associated with changes in lifestyle and may be related to efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the survey ...

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Comment Now: USDA Wants to Weaken School Food Nutrition Standards Again



Once again, the Trump administration is going after school nutrition guidelines. A USDA proposal brought forth on Nov. 25, 2020, would allow flavored, low-fat milk, cut whole grain-rich servings in half, and ease restrictions on sodium to enable nutrition directors more time to meet sodium reduction targets. This isn’t the first time the administration has tried to weaken school food nutrition. Just a few months ago, the U.S. Agriculture Department sought to ease restrictions on sodium and whole-grain requirements in school meals, but a federal district judge struck it down due to violations of regulatory law, according to The New York Times. The proposed rule is open for public comment until Dec. 28, 2020. Leave a comment to speak up for school food nutrition! Comment ...

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Latinos Are Hesitant to Take a COVID-19 Vaccine, But We Can Build Trust


vaccine doctor giving covid-19 vaccination to hispanic latino

Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized for emergency use, but uncertainty lies ahead. Several new studies show that older Americans, especially Latino and Black adults, are skeptical of the safety and efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine. The results indicate mistrust between communities of color and public health officials, likely due to historical racism in health care and implicit bias. This mistrust concerns health care officials, as a vaccine is key to controlling the pandemic. “Effective vaccines will be crucial to getting this pandemic under control and preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19, especially among people over 50 and those with underlying health issues,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, the poll’s director and a specialist in geriatrics and ...

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Latinos Face Homelessness Spike Without Congress COVID-19 Relief Bill


Covid-19 relief bill for poverty homelessness for latinos

Latino and Black people will suffer significant financial problems that could lead to an increase in homelessness if U.S. leaders fail to pass a COVID-19 relief bill this week, experts say. The spring 2020 stimulus package is set to expire at the end of the week, prompting Congress to debate over a $900 Billion pandemic relief bill that will give stimulus checks, pause evictions and student loans, and provide further unemployment insurance. Leaders hope to find a solution by the end of the week. If they don’t, Latinos and Black people could suffer the most, including a rise in homelessness. “The pandemic has hit communities of color harder than white Americans, and the population of homeless Black Americans and Latinos will only increase if there is no emergency federal ...

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System Justification Leads to Ignoring COVID-19 Safety Precautions


latina looking at face mask with system justification in covid-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has been a force in our lives for the last 10 months. At this point, we know the standard procedures for safety precautions, like wearing a mask, keeping physical distance, and avoiding crowded public spaces. We’ve even started administering a vaccine to healthcare workers and the elderly, with the FDA emergency-use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this past weekend. But despite all this, the pandemic still isn’t over. COVID-19 cases are spiking in many areas across the country as people move events indoors due to colder weather and are travelling more for the holidays. Not to mention pandemic fatigue. Another big safety concern is using “system justification” to ignore safety precautions. This happens when people rationalize unsafe behaviors ...

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Latino Students Fall Behind in Math, Reading Due to COVID-19 School Closures



When schools closed down and switched to online learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some students began falling behind in class. The students most affected? Latino and Black children. Several studies measured testing scores in math and reading for elementary school students in Fall 2020 compared to Fall 2019. A report by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) found that while some students are improving, Latino and Black students are falling behind their white peers. “While a majority of students did better than expected in reading — scoring at levels similar to typical nonpandemic years — this wasn’t true for Black and Hispanic students and those who attend high-poverty schools,” according to NBC News. The trend is concerning as it highlights the ...

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