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Youth Help Latino Corner Store Market Fresh, Healthy Foods



Latino neighborhoods have one-third as many supermarkets as non-Latino ones, studies show. This can limit food options to what can be found at local corner stores, which aren’t known to carry an abundance of fresh, healthy foods. In the mostly Latino city of Watsonville, Calif., corner stores either didn’t have many healthy options or weren’t encouraging customers to but the few healthy options they did have. One local corner market worked with youth to improve its bottom line while promoting healthy eating in the community. EMERGENCE Awareness: In California’s Santa Cruz County, located on the central pacific coast, the 80% Latino city of Watsonville has disproportionately higher rates of obesity than many other cities. The city’s food environment plays a big role in ...

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Parents Help Expand Bike/Walk to School for Kids in Fairfax, Va.



Jeff Anderson, a parent at Wolftrap Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., wanted his daughter to bike to school. Unfortunately, the school had no bike racks. He went to the principal and the school installed bike racks. Anderson then joined other parents, school officials, and community partners to improve one of the school district’s transportation policies. Now parents from all over the community, including those with large Latino populations, have created safe routes for kids to walk and bike to district schools. EMERGENCE Awareness: In Spring 2008, Jeff Anderson noticed that there were no bike racks at Wolftrap Elementary School in Vienna, Va., a city with a 12% Latino population. An avid bicyclist, Anderson wanted his then-first-grade daughter to learn biking’s sense of ...

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Residents Bring First-Ever Park to California’s 92701 Zip Code



A group of Latina women in the park poor city of Santa Ana, Calif., were desperate to have a safe place for their children to play. One mom, Irma Rivera, saw a child almost get hit by a car while playing in an empty parking lot, and she vowed to do something about the lack of safe active spaces. She and other moms went to non-profit group Latino Health Access (LHA) for support and found that the group was willing to champion the cause. Through teamwork, determination and perseverance, LHA and the moms managed to get land and funding to build the area’s first-ever public park and community center for Latinos in south Santa Ana. EMERGENCE Awareness: Latinos in Santa Ana, Calif., struggle with poverty, language and cultural barriers, obesity, and disease—despite being part of Orange ...

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Hydration Stations Start a Water-Drinking Movement in Washington



Latinos are the fastest-growing minority group in Washington State. Because Latino kids tend to drink more sugary drinks than their White peers, healthy beverage policies have the potential to impact Latino kids’ health in big ways. In Washington, community partners are teaming-up with schools and lawmakers to come up with ways to encourage kids to quench their thirst with water, not sugar. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: Childhood obesity is a problem in the state of Washington, which is 11% Latino. In 2012, 25% of Washington children ages 2-4 who received benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC; Latinos comprise about 41% of WIC participants) were overweight or obese, according to the state’s Department of Health. About 23% ...

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Latino-Owned Grocery Store Uses Bilingual Marketing to Inspire Healthy Shopping



Northgate González Market has come a long way since its humble beginnings. The family-owned and operated California-based grocery store chain, originally founded by immigrants from Jalisco in 1980, went from one 2,500-square-foot store to now 42 stores located throughout Southern California. Despite Northgate’s success, its owners have not forgotten their roots or culture. They seek to offer high-quality products and improve the quality of life for Latinos through their Viva la Salud! Program, which includes bilingual healthy food labels and an entire marketing program aimed at helping customers make wise food- purchasing decisions as part of a healthy lifestyle. EMERGENCE Awareness: Victor González, Senior VP of Marketing at González Northgate Markets, a chain of ...

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Group Creates ‘Wellness Corridor’ to Promote Active Spaces in Santa Ana, Calif.



The mostly Latino southern area of Santa Ana, Calif., had limited places to be active—and not a single park. Desperate for more active spaces to give them more chances to get fit and avoid disease and obesity, residents pushed for and received a new park, Corazones Verdes Park. While park construction remained underway, members of Latino Health Access sought alternative active spaces. That’s when they came up with the idea of creating a Wellness Corridor through downtown Santa Ana. Now partners from across the city are discussing ways to make the community more walkable, and residents of all ages are learning to effectively voice the need for healthy options. EMERGENCE Awareness: America Bracho, a Venezuelan-born physician and public health advocate for the Latino community of south ...

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Pediatrician Challenges Families to Rethink Sugary Juices and Drinks



Growing up in Spain, Dr. Marta Katalenas ate home-cooked meals made with fresh ingredients.When she moved to the United States in 1984 to learn English and become a pediatrician, she saw a different way of life that included way more treats, especially sugary juices and drinks. As she began her practice, she said she saw a growing association between kids drinking too much sugar and being overweight. Dr. Katalenas decided that if she was going to help parents set their kids on a path of health, she needed to get the whole community involved in reducing sugary drink consumption—so she made reducing sugary drinks part of her new monthly health challenge for families. EMERGENCE Awareness: Spain native Dr. Marta Katalenas, who moved to the U.S. in 1984 and became a board-certified ...

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San Antonio Teachers Create Mud Runs for Latino Kids



If you’ve ever dreamed of making a difference in your community (or if you’re a kid who doesn’t mind getting a little dirty), then you’ll want to hear about the amazing mud run program, Mile Strong Kids by Fred Bailon and John Soto. Bailon and Soto, two elementary-school teachers in the majority Latino city of San Antonio, Texas, organized a one-day mud run to start “standing up to obesity.” The event was so surprisingly successful that it led to the formation of a running club and non-profit group to organize mud runs all over town. Obesity Spurs Big Idea Fred Bailon and John Soto are teachers at W.Z. “Doc” Burke Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas. About 87% of Burke students are Latino and 82.3% of the school’s population is economically disadvantaged, ...

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Olivares Food Market Goes the Extra Mile to Serve the Community



About five years ago, Clara Santos opened Olivares Food Market to serve the Philadelphia neighborhood in which she lived. Offering quick meals and grab-and-go snacks, her store was popular but had few healthy snacks. With some help from a food access organization, Santos learned that offering and promoting healthy food options is not only good for the health of her customers, but for business, too. EMERGENCE Awareness: Olivares Food Market, a Latino-oriented corner store in South Philadelphia, owned by Clara Santos, is a lot like other similar markets in Philadelphia and across the country. That is, it lacks healthy food options and has no marketing for the few it does have. Olivares sells prepared foods—like high-calorie cheesesteaks for lunch and pancakes for breakfast—and ...

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