Why Aren’t Children Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables?


Child eating vegetables.

Nutritious food is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle for children. However, a February 2023 CDC report shows that many children ages 1-5 are not eating fruits and vegetables daily and are regularly drinking sugary beverages. “In 20 states, more than one half of children did not eat a vegetable daily during the preceding week. In 40 states and the District of Columbia, more than one half of children drank a sugar-sweetened beverage at least once during the preceding week,” according to the CDC. Let’s dive deeper and find out the state of diets among Latinos and all children, the role of healthy food access, and how we can create healthier food environments for children. The State of Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Consumption The new CDC report paints a grim ...

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What Does ‘Food Equity’ Look Like in Your Neighborhood?


Food equity

A nutritious diet is essential for good health. But many vulnerable populations, such as Latinos, struggle to access and afford healthy food. To help, we need to know where to start. Fortunately, a new tool, the Food Equity Opportunity Map, highlights healthy food access issues across the country to show where improving access would make the greatest impact. “Together, we can build community health through improving Food Equity, but only if we first understand where that work is most needed. That’s why we launched the Food Equity Opportunity Map,” according to the creators of the map, Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a national nonprofit organization focused on health equity, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Mapping Food Equity and Food ...

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A Renters Bill of Rights: What Could it Mean for Latinos?


Renters blueprint Latino family

In January 2023, the Biden-Harris administration released a Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights. The purpose of the blueprint is to support a well-functioning, equitable housing market for renters and all of society, which is important for Latinos who struggle with access to affordable housing. Let’s explore the blueprint and its five principles that “create a shared baseline for fairness” for Latino and all renters, according to the White House. Blueprint Principle 1: Safe, Quality, Accessible, and Affordable Housing Where you live affects your health. Renters should have access to safe, quality housing in neighborhoods that meet their health needs, including access to green spaces, reliable public transportation, and nutritious food. In addition, quality housing ...

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1,600+ People Want to Allow WIC Participants to Shop Online for Food!


Pregnant women ordering online.

The USDA is proposing to make online food shopping an option for families in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Up to now, WIC participants had to use vouchers or electronic benefits cards (EBT) at the store. With the proposed changes, participants could shop online for groceries – a move that aims to improve the WIC shopping experience while increasing equity and access to nutritious foods for WIC participants, thus positively impacting nutrition security. May 2023 Update: 329 Salud America! members submitted a model comment and were among over 1,600 people overall to USDA’s proposed changes to enable WIC participants to shop online for food. The model comment was created by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio in ...

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Step Up for Obesity Care Week 2023!


OAC obesity cares week ocw2023

Obesity Care Week 2023 (#OCW2023) is here! From Feb. 27 to March 3, 2023, Obesity Care Week is an annual public awareness effort to end weight bias, as well as raise awareness, educate and advocate for a better world for people living with obesity. Also, World Obesity Day is March 4, 2023. Our Salud America! Latino health equity team at UT Health San Antonio is happy to serve as an OCW2023 Champion to support this awareness week. "Unlike most other diseases, obesity is one that continues to be stigmatized and those impacted struggle to receive any care in many cases, let alone adequate care," said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio and a leading health disparities researcher. "OCW2023 aims to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for ...

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15,238 People Commented on WIC Food Package Changes!


Latino family on computer.

In November 2022, the USDA proposed science-backed changes to improve nutrition and promote and support breastfeeding in the food packages of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). USDA sought comments on its proposal through Feb. 21, 2023. As of today, 15,238 people submitted comments on the proposed WIC food package update, including over 135 comments in English and Spanish from a comment campaign by Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio in partnership with UnidosUs! See all comments here. Why are the Proposed WIC Changes Needed for Latinos? Many Latinos face both food and nutrition insecurity. Of Latino low-income households, 69.4% were food secure, 18.8% were food insecure, and 11.8% were very low food security, according to ...

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Can Texts Help Latino Young Adults to Quit Smoking?


quitxt quit smoking service new grant evluation text texting

Dr. Patricia Chalela of UT Health San Antonio has received a new five-year, $2 million research grant to test the impact of Quitxt, a bilingual text messaging program that helps Latino young adults in South Texas to quit smoking. The grant is among $90 million for new cancer prevention and research projects from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). For the grant, Dr. Chalela and her team will recruit 1,200 Latino smokers ages 18-29 who agree to try to quit smoking. Half will receive Quitxt, a free texting service with culturally appropriate visual, video, and audio content fueled with evidence-based techniques to prompt and sustain smoking cessation. The other half will get abbreviated text messages and referral to the "Yes Quit" smoking cessation ...

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Did Restaurants Really Take Sugary Drinks off Kid’s Menus?



While many US restaurants removed sugary drink options from kid’s menus in recent years, 44% of the top 200 chains still offered soda or other sugary drinks, according to a recent study from the Center For Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Sugary drinks contribute added sugars in a child’s diet, which can then contribute to obesity. Yet sugary drinks were the most common children’s beverages offered at the top 200 restaurant chains in 2019 and 2021, the report found. “It’s time for all restaurants to drop children’s sugary drinks. To complement industry efforts, states and localities should pass legislation that requires restaurants to make healthier beverages the default kids’ drink offering,” according to CSPI. “Healthier children’s meals, served with ...

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As Texans Lose Pandemic SNAP Benefits, Food Banks Brace for ‘Wave’ of Hunger


Losing SNAP benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps one in eight Americans put food on the table. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, millions of Americans lost their jobs and experienced reduced incomes – causing Congress to make temporary emergency changes to SNAP. As a result, SNAP recipients experienced a boost in benefits, either receiving an additional $95 in benefits or an additional benefit valued up to the maximum benefit for their household size, whichever value was greater, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. While these emergency allotments have ended in many states, the Lone Star State has continued providing eligible households with an increased food budget. However, Texans may feel the pinch in the next few weeks, as Congress ...

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