Salud America! Urges USDA to Keep School Nutrition Strong

Latina girl drinsk white milk at school lunch or breakfast

More than 700 Salud America! members and thousands of other people and groups across the nation submitted formal public comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to oppose its proposal to weaken school nutrition standards! Way to go, Salud America! family! These comments urge the USDA to reconsider its proposal, announced Nov. 29, 2017, to allow schools to serve of refined grains over whole grains, flavored milk, and higher levels of salt in meals. The USDA has not announced any action since the end of the public comment period on Jan. 29, 2018. Still, there now is hope for the many Latino kids who depend on school lunch for a healthy meal, thanks to members of the Salud America! network and others who took action! The Salud America! Response The USDA proposal ...

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Tell USDA: I Want Strong School Food Nutrition Rules!

latino kids in a school food lunch line

The USDA announced an interim final rule that would weaken school food nutrition standards. The rule, effective 2018-2019, would allow schools to serve 1% and nonfat flavored and non-flavored milk, apply for an exemption to serve refined grains over whole grains, and allow schools to not reduce salt levels in meals. Health experts say this rolls back progress to improve school nutrition and children's health. What do you think? Fortunately, you have a limited time—until Jan. 29 2018—to tell USDA you want better school food for Latino and all families! Submit a Model Comment Copy one of three model public comments developed by our Salud America! research team, then hit the submit button to paste it to USDA's website... MODEL COMMENT: GENERAL For the health of Latino and ...

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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 ...

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New Law Allows Texas Schools to Set Up Food Pantries

School is the primary food source for many Latino students living in poverty. So why do some students go hungry, while some schools have extra food that goes to waste? To find an answer, Texas State Rep. Diego Bernal visited schools in San Antonio (63.2% Latino). Bernal found that many kids, even in more affluent school districts, were going hungry while schools threw away, "untouched, unopened, ripe, perfectily edible food," according to the San Antonio Express-News. The reason: “Complexities of overlapping district, state, and federal policies, along with a collection of myths and cautionary tales.” Bernal wanted to help. Helping Schools Store, Share Unused Food He championed legislation (HB 367), with the help of State Sen. José Menénedez, to allow schools to set ...

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Teenagers Help Erase School Lunch Debt

It cannot be emphasized enough: kids need to eat healthy, nutritious meals in order for them to succeed academically. There is an indisputable link between nutrition and the development of children’s brains. Despite this importance, many kids go hungry. Kids from low-income families, including a disproportionate number of Latinos, often go without meals at school because the owe money. School lunch debt is a huge issue in cities across the country. A 2016 survey by the School Nutrition Association of 1,000 school meal program operators, about 75% of districts had unpaid student meal debt at the end of the school year. The median amount of debt per district was $2,000, but it can run much higher in large districts. For example, the Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, ...

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Fruit Juice Banned in Primary Schools to Cut Obesity in Scotland

LAtino Health sweetened sugary beverages

Sweetened sugary beverages are the main sources of excess sugar consumption and are associated with decreased water, fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as increased risk for obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Parents in the Tayside area of Scotland expressed their concerns about the excess sugar given to toddlers in the form of fruit juice. In March 2017, more than 140 Scottish primary schools were banned from giving toddlers fruit juice. Water and milk will be served instead. “All local authorities have a duty to provide school meals that meet strict nutritional requirements, ensuring that pupils are offered balanced and nutritious school lunches," a Scottish Government spokesperson said according to one source. Barriers to healthy eating are not only ...

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Healthy Summer Meals For Kids Only A Text Away

Free and reduced-price school meals help make sure that over 21 million kids get at least two meals a day, but what happens during the summer? That’s where the No Kid Hungry program can help. They created a resource where families can text ‘FOOD’ (for English responses) or ‘COMIDA’ (for Spanish responses) to 877-877 and receive locations providing summer meals nearest the zip code entered. Without programs like these, 6 out of 7 kids who are able to get free and reduced-price lunches during the school year might not have access to nutritious meals in the summer. Of those enrolled in nutrition programs at school, Latino children make up 32% of kids receiving free lunches and 29.7% of kids receiving reduced lunches. For more information, go to or text ...

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LA Supports No More McTeachers Nights for LA Schools!

A healthy movement is growing in Los Angeles (48.5% Latino) where schools are saying no to the unhealthy marketing of McTeachers nights. This week of May 12, 2015, schools are being asked to vote on nutrition and fundraising policies, including voting on policies around food marketing for local wellness school policies. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has outlined updates for school districts on local wellness policies (LWP) to include a policy around food marketing in schools by June 30, 2016. School marketing includes any advertising, promotion of oral written, or graphic statements made for the purpose of promoting the sale of food or beverages, explains a resource from Voices for Healthy kids and the Center for Science in the Public Interest ...

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Become A School Wellness Hero is asking mom's to become school wellness heroes to help make sure physical education and healthy foods are a part of school wellness policies. Kids spend most of their day at school, eating most of their calories and expending most of their energy at school, so it is vital for the school environment to be healthy. Currently, over 99% of schools are meeting new healthy snack standards, but with the new healthy school meal standards being rolled back around sodium, non-fat and flavored milk and whole grains, there is still so much work to do to make sure kids are in a safe and healthy school environment all day. You can help support health and wellness in schools before the end of June while school districts update their wellness policies. Get involved by dropping off ...

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