CDC Report: Latino Youth Have Worse Diets than Their Peers


kids lunch elementary school food eat

A few years ago, Salud America! found that Latino students are exposed to more unhealthy food in and out of school than their peers. This contributed to poor nutrition and high rates of obesity. Sadly, that situation still exists today. Latino high-school students eat fewer fruits and vegetables and don't eat breakfast daily as much as some of their peers, according to new data released in June 2018 from the CDC's 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The Data The CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System monitors health-related behaviors. These behaviors usually develop during childhood and early adolescence and contribute to the leading causes of death and disability as well as social problems among youth and adults in the United States. The CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey is ...

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Latina Nutrition Leader Starts a School Food Pantry to Feed Hungry Kids in San Antonio


jenny arredondo

Jenny Arredondo knows some San Antonio students leave school and don't eat again until they return to school the next day. Many students live in poverty. Some don't know where their next meal is coming from. Arredondo wanted to help. Arredondo, senior executive director of child nutrition at San Antonio ISD, found a solution in Texas State Rep. Diego Bernal's new state law. Schools now can start "school food pantries" to accept and store donated food and surplus food from the cafeteria, and distribute that leftover food to hungry students. How could she start school food pantries at San Antonio ISD? Food Insecurity at San Antonio ISD U.S. Latino children and families often struggle with poverty and live in poverty stricken neighborhoods with abundant fast food but little ...

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Texas Policymaker Enables School Food Pantries to Save Leftover Food for Kids


latino kids in a school food lunch line

Texas State Rep. Diego Bernal had a simple question for school leaders in San Antonio. What's your biggest concern for students? Wasted food, they told him. In fact, Bernal toured schools in San Antonio (63.2% Latino) and learned leaders were frustrated with how much food is trashed and not given to students who live in poverty and have no food at home. Even in more affluent school districts, students were going hungry while schools threw away, “untouched, unopened, ripe, perfectily edible food,” Bernal told the San Antonio Express-News. Bernal was heartbroken. He wanted to do something. But how could he bring leftover school food to the mouths of hungry students? Children Going Hungry Bernal saw two types of hungry students in San Antonio. Students who are ...

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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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