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New Mexico Schools Give Sleepy Students a High-Tech Nap

Nap clubs. Quiet rooms. Wellness centers with cozy couches and tea. Schools are trying new ways to give rest to sleepy students, including Latinos who are more sleep-deprived than their peers. That includes high-tech "nap pods" for students in two high schools in Las Cruces (59.6% Latino) and two in Sunland Park (95.2% Latino), N.M. Students sit in the pods, available in the nurse's office, under a sensory-reduction dome that plays relaxing music and soothing lights for 20 minutes before gently vibrating to wake the students. "[It is] great for kids who weren’t getting enough sleep at night—which teenagers don’t, for a variety of reasons," Sandy Peugh, health services director for the Las Cruces school district, told Las Cruces Sun-News. "They were coming to school ...

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San Antonio Coalition Wants to Raise Smoking Age to 21

teen smoking cigarettes

For the first time in decades, overall tobacco use increased among high school students. This could have a big impact on Latino health. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Latino men and the second-leading cause among Latino women. The Tobacco 21 Coalition is trying to raise the legal minimum age for cigarette purchase to 21 in San Antonio, Texas (68% Latino). Every year in Texas, 75,000 kids try smoking for the first time and 12,300 kids become regular smokers. In San Antonio, 12.6% of male high school students and 9.9% of female high school students currently smoke. These youth are more sensitive to nicotine's addictiveness because their bodies are still growing and developing, according to health experts. Thus, these youth are more likely to smoke as ...

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A Cultural Way to Get Latino Kids Interested in Health Careers

The U.S. Latino population has grown 243% since 1980. But the number of Latino doctors dropped 22%, a study found. That's why we need programs like Roots to Wings. The innovative Roots to Wings program teams up Latino and Native American middle- and high-schoolers in Washington schools with medical students at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences. The teams then "co-mentor" each other. How? The kids teach the medical students about their Mexican-American or Yakama Nation heritage. The medical students teach the kids about medicine and pursuing higher education. “Roots to Wings is actually an educational pathway for underrepresented youth to enter the health sciences,” Dr. Mirna Ramos-Diaz, who leads the program, recently told the Yakima Herald. ...

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Talking to Puppets Brings Mental Health into Kid Conversations

child puppets for mental health in Vermont

We all remember filing into a school auditorium as first graders and trying to stay awake during a dull, lackluster presentation. Did we learn something? Maybe. Do we remember it today? Probably not. Well, the Vermont Family Network (VFN) discovered a fun way—puppets!—to engage young children in talking about mental health. The Vermont network formed an educational puppet troupe that brings messages of health and inclusion to more than 10,000 children and adults each year in Vermont (2% Latino) and beyond. The troupe, called the Puppets in Education (PiE) program, is celebrating their 36th year of teaching students through puppetry! The PiE program uses 3-and-a-half-foot puppets to empower kids to talk about important, difficult issues. From the stage in schools, ...

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Outdoor Learning Environments Soon Available in TX

Texas (39.1% Latino population) is launching five Outdoor Learning Environment demonstration sites across the state, three of which are at early childcare centers. This is great news for many Latino students across the state. Currently, children today can spend 8-10 hours a day in childcare. However, like many Latino-majority schools, childcare facilities offer less time for kids to play and be active. As early as age four, Latino children face gaps in academic performance and disparities in obesity. Latino kids need safe places to play and be active to reduce obesity and boost academic achievement. Naturalize Outdoor Playgrounds Play – particularly play in nature – is critical for healthy child development. Nature supports creative problem solving, enhances cognitive ...

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10% of NYC Public School Students Were Homeless in 2016

During the 2016-17 school year, the number of homeless students in the New York City public school system rose again for the second year in a row. The increase, according to The New York Times, put the overall student population at a shocking milestone: one in every 10 public school students was homeless during the year. These numbers translate into 111,500 students in New York City (28.92% Latino population) that were homeless the last academic year. This was a 6% increase over the 2015-2016 school year. Across New York state, 148,000 students overall were homeless which is 5% of the state’s public school population. “After rising steadily for about five years, the number of homeless students reported to the state shot up in the 2015-16 school year, reaching nearly 100,000 ...

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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 ...

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California to Invest Billions in New Affordable Housing

California state legislators recently approved three bills to boost the supply of local affordable housing. Senate Bills 2, 3, and 35 expect to raise billions to pay to build thousands of new homes for the state’s low-income residents. The bills also also aim to ease local regulations on home-building to help middle-class Californians who are now overwhelmed by costs. “The poverty rate in California, everyone talks about it,” said state Sen. Toni Atkins, author of Senate Bill 2 in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. “Look at everything we do. For child care, for education, for minimum wage, for health care. All those things are significant. And because of housing costs, it negates all those good things.” Action for Affordable Housing More than most states, ...

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What It Means to ‘Take Care of One Another’ at One Latino High School

Salud America! Guest Blogger Denise Rosales, P.E. Teacher, Mission Collegiate High School, Mission, Texas At Mission Collegiate High School, nestled on the Mexican border, we’re more than just a school. We’re a close-knit family who believes that health is the foundation of life, so we take care of one another’s well-being. Together, our 45 staff and 435 students helped Mission Collegiate earn a spot on the Alliance for Healthier Generation’s 2017 America’s Healthiest Schools list, for the second year in a row! We’re particularly proud of our achievement because nearly 100 percent of our students are Hispanic and economically disadvantaged, and the majority are either first-generation high school or college students. Our staff understand the positive effect good ...

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