Study: Green Spaces Boost Brain Development in Latino Kids


kids running park green space play

Exposure to green spaces can boost brain development in school children, according to a new Spanish study with big implications for U.S. Latino children who lack access to parks where they live. The new study, which links long-term exposure to green spaces to enhanced cognitive function in Spanish children, was led by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Researchers used MRIs and computerized tests to note children's working memory and inattentiveness every three months. They discovered children who grew up in homes surrounded by green space showed greater activity in the regions of their brain linked with learning. They also showed better ability to engage with others. Children near green space also showed lower levels of ...

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Sweat Equity: How to Get Fit and Volunteer at the Same Time!


work out help out collage

Paul Rezaei loved being physically active as a kid, so much so that he became a personal trainer and has helped people get fit in San Antonio for 10 years. One day, as Rezaei watched people spend energy to jog on treadmills and move weights, he had a revelation: "Can't we do this [work out] while doing something positive for the community?" Rezaei wanted to host events where people could work out—and at the same time serve as volunteers to create gardens, help at-risk families, and improve the community. How could he make it happen? Physical Inactivity and the Need for Healthy Spaces Rezaei, a trainer at Life Time Fitness, sees many people in San Antonio (67% Latino) struggle to get the recommended daily physical activity. More than half of adults here are obese or ...

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Salud America! Members Speak Up for Equity in Physical Activity Guidelines


school children playing tug of war with rope in park

You have spoken up big-time for healthy physical activity! In fact, Salud America! network members provided 73% (203) of the 278 public comments made during the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' comment period to help shape the next edition of its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Public comments will be considered alongside a new report released by the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. The guidelines haven’t been updated since 2008. "Salud America! members' big participation in the public comment period will likely play an important role in ensuring the equity in the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans," said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! and leader of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health ...

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Two Latino-Populated Cities Named among ‘Best Complete Streets Initiatives’


roundabout in bonita florida

Bonita Springs, Fla. (31% Latino) and Las Cruces, N.M. (60% Latino) were among 12 cities recognized in "The Best Complete Streets Initiatives of 2017" report by the National Complete Streets Coalition of Smart Growth America. Complete Streets policies direct transportation planners and engineers to design streets with all users in mind. That includes people who walk, bike, take public transit, carpool or drive. This, in turn, helps address chronic disease, equitable economic growth, and reduced car dependence. The National Complete Streets Coalition sought exemplary examples of Complete Streets and advocates in 2017. Using their 100-point grading system, they selected the 12 Best Complete Streets initiatives. In many communities, roads and streets are barriers to access ...

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Nominate Your Community Leaders for ‘Best in Complete Streets’ Recognition



Does your city, county or state have a Complete Streets policy to promote the safety of drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and all? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago would love to know! You can nominate of public health agencies and advocates who help develop, adopt, and implement Complete Streets policies from 2013-2018 for a "Complete Streets and Public Health" recognition. Nominations are accepted from now to March 30, 2018. Why Complete Streets? Many Latino communities lack safe places to play and be active, according to a Salud America! research review. This can often lead to fewer opportunities to be physically active. Complete Streets policies can help. Complete Streets are equitable for all users—drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and commuters ...

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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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Tell U.S. Gov’t: We Want Healthy Physical Activity Guidelines for Kids!


race kids corpus christi track

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants your help to shape the next edition of its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which haven't been updated since 2008. The guidelines recommend how everyone can improve their health with regular physical activity. Now, a new report from the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee shows how higher levels of physical activity among children and adolescents are associated with favorable health outcomes, including heart and muscle fitness, bone health, and weight status. Speak up on to shape the guidelines now! Copy this model public comment developed by our Salud America! research team, click the “submit” button, and paste the comment on health.gov's comments website by April 2, 2018: I support ...

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KaBOOM!’s New Play Everywhere Playbook



Playing can help a kid's healthy brain development. But many communities are not kid-play-friendly. Latino neighborhoods tend to lack safe places that welcome kids and multi-generational families to play. That's why KaBOOM! created the Play Everywhere Playbook. The Playbook helps cities design healthy play spaces with kids in mind. The Playbook is has four sections built on input from city and community leaders, health experts, urban planners and affected families: Fundamentals: defining what makes a space a PLAYce—wondrous, convenient, inviting, shared, unifying, challenging and intentional Design guides: streets and sidewalks; parks trails, and public spaces; transit; multi-family housing; commercial spaces; civic spaces; and moveable and pop-up play Case ...

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Don’t Just Work Out—Try Maria’s ‘Transformation Station’


Maria Guerra heart health transformation station

When fitness guru Maria Guerra designed her gym, she of course plotted space for all the usual stuff, like free weights, exercise machines and classes. Guerra also made room for something she’d never seen in any gym. She calls it a “transformation station” and it’s essentially a heart-health resource center. There are tools to measure blood pressure and body mass index, plus charts and brochures to help make sense of those readings. The information is in English and Spanish, and it’s free to everyone, client or not. The station also includes a “challenge wall.” This is where people who are ready to improve their fitness post before and after photos; challengers get to update their “after” image each month. “Why work out and have pretty muscles if the ...

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