Better Drink? Water vs. Milk in School Lunches


water bottle filling school latino girl

Many American kids eat two out of three meals at school. Schools must offer healthy food and drinks, especially for Latino students who are more likely than their peers to face an unhealthy weight, unhealthy neighborhood food options, and unhealthy early development. That's why schools should offer plain water with meals—not milk. So says a new study by University of Illinois researcher Ruopeng An, which encouraged children to drink plain water with their school lunches. This simple switch from milk to water at school could prevent more than a half-million kids from becoming overweight or obese, and trim the costs of obesity by more than $13 billion, An's study suggests. "The nutrition profile doesn't change much when people increase their plain-water intake, but we ...

Read More

New Website Seeks to Promote Healthy Food Access & Health Equity


healthy food policy project logo

Having easy access to healthy food can drastically change the way we eat. So it's alarming that Latinos neighborhoods lack grocery stores and other healthy food options, while abundant in fast food. Policies that aim to make healthy food access a priority can improve the quality of food we eat, stimulate economic growth and create jobs. That's why three nationally recognized policy think tanks—the Vermont Law School's Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, the Public Law Center, and the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity—partnered to launch the Healthy Food Policy Project (HFPP). The HFPP will focus on making healthy food access a priority for socially disadvantaged and marginalized groups, promote health equity, and support local economies through ...

Read More

Latina Celebs, Activists Team Up to Push Healthy Lifestyles


Karent Sierra, Karla Martinez, Yudy Arias, Chef Lala

TV host Karla Martinez, nutritionist Chef Lala, yoga instructor Yudy Arias, and dentist Karent Sierra are teaming with Colgate Total on a new campaign to empower Latinas to invest in healthy lifestyles, beginning with proper oral health. For the campaign, called Simplemente Saludable (Simply Healthy), each woman will highlight ways to shake up health routines. Karla will speak on women's empowerment and self-help. Karent will open up about the best oral health routine and tips for a healthier smile. Yudy will share new at-home exercise routines. Chef Lala will provide nutritious ways to enjoy traditional Latin cuisine. For example, Chef Lala shared these six tips related nutrition: Apples are a healthy source of sweetness, but they could shake up the plaque that ...

Read More

One Region’s Big Effort to Connect Rural Residents to Healthy Food



Salud America! Guest Blogger Ethan Goffman of Mobility Lab In rural areas, a car is a lifeline to groceries, community, and medical care—all the basics of life. Seniors who can no longer drive, Latinos who often live without easy access to grocery stores or farmer's markets, and other people without access to a car, must depend on neighbors and whatever public transit may be available. Enter Rabbit Transit, which is striving to connect otherwise isolated individuals. The agency serves York County (7.2% Latino) and nine other rural counties in Central Pennsylvania, providing some 2.5 million trips a year, explained Richard Farr, the agency’s executive director. “Part of our mission statement is really focusing on a high quality of life for our residents,” Farr said. ...

Read More

Junk Food Marketing, Latino Kids, and the Scary Health Halo Effect



Research has long shown that Latino kids see a lot of unhealthy food and drink ads on TV. But now a new study shows that food companies heavily target Latino kids on the Internet, too, according to a new study from the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. What's worse, the Rudd Center also has confirmed a troubling "health halo effect." That is, when food manufactures promote good nutrition and physical activity in ads for unhealthy products, children can be misled and confuse their understanding of good health, according to researchers, via a separate study. The new findings have big implications for Latino kids, who suffer higher rates of obesity and worse health outcomes than their peers. Targeted Online Marketing To Latino Kids Previous ...

Read More

Historic Climb: California Bans Unhealthy Food Marketing in Schools


sugary drinks in schools

On Oct. 15, 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that bans schools from marketing unhealthy foods that are not allowed to be sold or served in schools. This law, Assembly Bill 841, also forbids schools from partnering with companies for programs that reward students with foods or drinks that do not meet USDA Smart Snacks in School regulations and other standards. The idea is to help students make healthier food choices. "This law will help ensure that students receive consistent messages from their schools about the importance of proper nutrition as well as reinforce parents’ efforts to help their children choose healthy foods," according to a report by Changelab Solutions. This will lead to "healthier students who are better able to thrive academically." Latino ...

Read More

Colorado Youth Help Push Sugary Drinks Off Kid’s Menus



Kids were fed up with the effect of sugary drinks on people's health in the small mountain town of Lafayette, Colorado (16% Latino). They pushed city leaders for change, and scored a big victory in October 2017 when the Lafayette City Council voted 5-1 for an ordinance to require all local restaurants to offer only milk and water with kids’ meals. This means that kids will no longer see enticing pictures of sodas or juices as an option on kid's menus. The city is the fifth U.S. city, and the first outside of California, with such an ordinance. However, this isn't an outright ban on sugary drinks. Parents can ask for a sugary drink with their child’s meal, and restaurants can meet that request. Youth Speak Up for Healthier Generations The ordinance is a huge success ...

Read More

4 High-Tech Ways to Bring Good Nutrition to Low-Income Latinos



Nutrition education—when it's accessible—can help low-income Latino and all families eat healthier. Four innovative projects used text messages, online programs, and other technologies to boost the reach and impact of nutrition education among participants in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) federal food assistance program. In each project, technology made nutrition education more accessible and useful. "Technology appears to have an impact on keeping our families in the program," said Dr. Shannon Whaley of UCLA, which led one of the studies. "This use of technology matters, and it is where WIC probably needs to go." Why Is Nutrition Education a Big Deal? Latinos tend to lack access to healthy food, according to a Salud America! Research Review. One big way ...

Read More

Lobe your Brain: How to Eat to Expand Mental Capacity


brain food

About 15% of U.S. Latinos had a diagnosable mental illness in the past year—that's enough people to fill New York City. How can this population achieve healthier minds? A healthy diet is, not surprisingly, a great first step. In fact, good nutrition protects against depression and anxiety; poor nutrition is a risk factor for those conditions, according to an emerging field of research. "By helping people shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders," Dr. Drew Ramsey of Columbia University told WebMD. The State of Mental Health Only about 1 in 5 Americans consider themselves in optimal mental health. Depression afflicts more than a quarter adults. By 2020, depression will rank as the second-leading cause of ...

Read More