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Early Childhood is Key to Unlocking Health Equity

Toddlers and preschoolers who grow up amid poverty and racism are at a developmental disadvantage and face lifelong social, health and economic consequences that hinder health equity, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). This includes Latino kids, who are prone to hardships in early childhood. Experiencing poverty and racism in the first five years of life can “set off a vicious cycle of inequities” from obesity, stress, and developmental problems that affect adulthood and future generations. Fortunately, the report explores ways to overcome or prevent these damaging effects. “Reducing child poverty, eliminating structural racism, and providing universal high-quality early care ...

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CDC: Latino Students are Less Active than their Peers

Teens need 60 minutes every day of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity to reduce their risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Yet only one in four high school students (26.1%) met this recommendation, according to new CDC data. And the rates of physical activity were often worse among Latinos. Why? What can we do? The Data High school students in the U.S. are not on a good health trajectory, according to CDC’s new Youth Risk Behavior Survey released on June 15, 2018. The survey is part of the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. The system monitors health-related behaviors, usually developed in childhood and early adolescence. These behaviors contribute to the leading causes of early death among youth and adults in the United States. Today ...

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Study: How Latina Mothers Navigate a ‘Food Swamp’ to Feed Their Kids

We know “food swamps” are linked to obesity. We also know Latinos often live in food swamps─where people lack access to healthy foods and have lots of nutrition-poor food options. For example, many Latino neighborhoods lack supermarkets but have abundant fast-food, according to a Salud America! Research Review. Now a recent study shows how Latina mothers deal with life in food swamps. Latina Moms & Food Swamps The George Washington University study sought to understand how mothers who lived in Washington, D.C., food swamps feed their children. The mothers were Latina and had been in the Unites States for less than 15 years. Each mother had at least one child younger than 10. Latina mothers valued foods that they considered to be traditional and healthy, ...

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Why Don’t Latino Families Search for New Early Care and Education?

Latino parents were less likely to search for Head Start, preschool, or other early card and education (ECE) programs than their black or white peers, according to a new report. The report, from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, examined national data to find out why and how low-income Latino parents search for ECE programs. ECE programs play a big role in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in early learning and later school outcomes. Turns out, only 35% of low-income Latino parents searched for ECE in the past 24 months. That’s less than black (49%) and white (41%) parents. “This may indicate that the ECE search process is more burdensome for Hispanic households, particularly if language barriers make it more difficult for them to access ...

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The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review

Abstract Many Latino children are at risk of not getting the proper care, services, and environment they need for healthy formative development. Traumatic early experiences, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and low participation in preschool programs impair Latino children’s social and emotional development, academic achievement, and overall health and wellbeing. But there’s reason for hope. Culturally-sensitive programs and policies can prevent or reduce the effects of traumatic childhood experiences, improve mental health, and boost school readiness. Early childhood development and education programs, breastfeeding and family support, and Latino family values support all have been shown to promote healthy early development. Read the News Release (PDF) Read the ...

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Latino Childhood Development Research: Future Needs

latino boy learning in early education setting

This is part of the Salud America! The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review » Further research is needed to identify the barriers to healthy eating in Latino children and evaluate current and new strategies for improving access and adherence to a healthy diet. Studies should also aim to identify the determinants of ACEs in Latino families and evaluate interventions for preventing ACEs and/or mitigating their harmful effects. The use of administrative data, such as Medicaid claims and other service records, may be useful for these studies and may help to target prevention and early intervention for children with or at risk of ACEs. More research is needed to identify the barriers to and predictors of mental health service use among Latino youth and develop ...

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Latino Childhood Development Research: Policy Implications

latino kid fixing a toy

This is part of the Salud America! The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review » Conclusions Latino children are at increased risk of poor outcomes in many areas of early childhood development. Factors such as socioeconomic status, parenting behaviors, family structure and environment, childhood experiences, and access to early education programs and health services can influence many aspects of child development. High-quality preschool programs, parent-directed support and education, and family-, school- and community-based programs have all been shown to improve developmental outcomes in Latino children. Preventing, identifying, and helping children and families overcome ACEs can impact a child’s social emotional development and chances of school success. ...

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Latino Childhood Development Research: Strategy—Support Moms

latina mom with baby food bottle

This is part of the Salud America! The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review » The Importance of Latina Mothers Although Latino children are generally well adjusted socially and emotionally, several factors may negatively influence their overall health and wellbeing development. These include poverty and/or large households, immigration status, the country of origin, maternal depression,1,146,147 as well as other factors like breastfeeding initiation and duration.148 Read the Salud America! research review about breastfeeding among Latina mothers.148,149 Approaches are emerging on how to address these issues. For example, mental health interventions can be made available to Latina mothers who are displaying negative thought patterns, including anxiety, ...

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Latino Childhood Development Research: Strategy—Family Values

latino toddler kids painting

This is part of the Salud America! The State of Latino Early Childhood Development: A Research Review » Social and Emotional Skill-Building Starts in Families Children begin to develop their social and emotional skills through initial interactions with family. Through strong and consistent relationships, they learn the importance of social bonding, connecting to others with empathy, and self-regulating emotions. Young children begin to learn about complex social interactions by receiving responsive caregiving from parents, which often leads to positive outcomes later in life. Latino Kids' Social and Emotional Health & Family Values One study (N = 7,750; 19% Latino) found that although Latino children may demonstrate cognitive gaps compared with white children after age 1, ...

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