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Latino Youth Poets Help Communities to Step Up vs. Big Soda



Latino and African American youth as well as individuals belonging to a local coalition of health leaders joined forces to launch Open Truth, a counter-advertising campaign that exposes big soda companies’ marketing tactics aimed at youth and communities of color. The result was a series of poems and videos created by youth, as well as dozens of ads viewed by millions, a website, and a viral social media campaign aimed at getting those targeted by soda companies to speak out against Big Soda. EMERGENCE Awareness:  By 2008, Christina Goette of the San Francisco Public Health Department and Shape Up San Francisco (Shape Up SF), a coalition of community groups and leaders interested in preventing chronic disease and promoting better health for the region, were already very ...

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El Paso Students ‘Get Hip’ with Health and Wellness



In the predominantly Latino city of El Paso, Texas, kids are priority No. 1 thanks to a community-school partnership that prioritizes physical activity and health for children. The El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) created and its Get HIP Now program to provide elementary- and middle-school students with integrated school health programming, alongside before- and after-school physical activity. EMERGENCE Awareness: As early as 2005, leaders at the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD), an 83% Latino school district in El Paso, Texas, were becoming aware of student obesity issues. It seemed obvious that students could benefit from improvements to physical activity programing, according to John Adams, a P.E. instructor at the time who would eventually become the ...

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New Trails Encourage El Paso Residents to Get Up, Get Walking



How do you get an entire city of people to get up and moving? Build them new trails and places to walk! That’s what happened when Angela Mora and other El Paso city officials teamed with community groups to gather a small budget and launch Move! El Paso Fitness Trails. The initiative created 13 new walking trails for the community, expanding the opportunities for people to walk, get moving, and reduce obesity! The Struggle to Stay Active in El Paso Angela Mora, deputy director of the El Paso Public Health Department, was well aware of the city’s growing obesity problem. A lack of physical activity opportunities was a big reason for these obesity rates. A few years ago, about 29% of adults in El Paso County were physically inactive, compared to state and national averages ...

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Finding Wellness Activities Nearby? There’s an App for That!



Improved technology, like smart phones and tablets, is often blamed for increasing unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles in children, especially Latino children. But what if this technology could be used to actually promote healthy living? Learn how a non-profit in Austin, Texas created a free mobile App that connects folks ready to get healthier with countless opportunities right in their backyard. EMERGENCE Awareness: Chances are most Texans know someone, even kids, with diet-related health conditions. In fact, 42.8% of 4th graders in Texas are overweight or obese. Making healthier lifestyle changes can make a big difference, especially for Latino kids, who make up a significant percentage of kids in Texas and are more likely to be overweight. Fortunately, IT’S TIME TEXAS (ITT) ...

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High School’s Grab-and-Go Breakfast Cart Makes School Breakfast Cool (and Healthy)



San Antonio student Michaelie Love knows that, for many high school students, the hour before school begins is spent socializing or cramming for tests—not in the cafeteria eating a healthy breakfast. Breakfast is included in the federal school nutrition program and is free or reduced-price for students who qualify. Latinos represent more than one-fifth of students participating in this federal program, but are they showing up for breakfast? Health professionals say skipping breakfast before school can lead to poor academic performance and unhealthy over-eating later in the day. Love wanted to make eating breakfast at school easy, healthy, and cool. Breakfast Habits among Youth The North East Independent School District (NEISD) is the second-largest school district in San ...

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El Paso Zoo Uses Menus, Signage To Get Kids ‘Wild About Health’



The zoo isn’t exactly a place of health (for humans), with typical fare like popcorn, ice cream, cotton candy, and sugary drinks. However, in El Paso, TX, kids and visitors of all ages are learning fun facts about how they can be healthy by copying habits, like eating fruits and vegetables, from animals. In 2012, the El Paso Zoo installed new signs and healthy menu items to promote good health for its record-breaking 354,130  visitors, and they continue to work with city public health officials to make a healthy lifestyle second nature to the community. EMERGENCE Awareness:  In 2010, El Paso, Texas, a vibrant a city with a rich culture at the west-most point of the state, was named the “third-fattest city” in the U.S. Sue Beatty, a health education and training manager ...

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El Jardin, La Cocina y El Mercado: Healthy Living Takes Root at Bowie High School



El Paso, Texas has come a long way since ranked as the third-fattest U.S. city in 2012. A renewed focus on eating healthy and moving more is paying off; obesity rates in the area are dropping. In addition to local health departments and community organizations, schools are playing a big role in these changes by addressing health, culture and community all at once. At Bowie High School, students are getting exposed not only to gardening, nutrition education and business skills, they are reconnecting with cultural traditions that favor fresh and flavorful over processed and sugary. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: The city of El Paso, Texas, shares its border with Mexico. This creates an interesting cultural dynamic where some students cross the border daily from Mexico to go to Bowie ...

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A High School Project Transforms a Neighborhood



From PowerPoint presentations to outlines to thick textbooks, there are many ways students learn about the world while at school. Rarely do they get the chance to learn by actually solving real-world problems—let alone problems that directly affect their lives. Learn how a high school teacher merged academics with activism and rallied his students to bring healthy, affordable fruits and vegetables into their underserved neighborhood. EMERGENCE Awareness:  While listening to the radio one day, San Antonio resident and high school teacher Rick Treviño got an idea. He was listening to a news story about how a group in Michigan started a Double Up Food Bucks program at local farmers’ market as a way to allow low-income folks to put their federal food assistance toward healthy ...

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5th-Grader, Teacher Help Add a Water Bottle Fountain in School



Praxina Guerra and her mentor Cathy Lopez are true Salud Heroes when it comes to creating an environment of school health and fun. After becoming involved with a local student ambassador program and creating a school club to encourage students to adopt healthier practices, the pair collected funds for a water bottle fountain, also called a hydration station, to be installed in the school’s cafeteria. Their team also started monthly Wellness Wednesday fitness events, available to both parents and students, as a way to increase fitness opportunities for the surrounding community. Seeing the Issue of Obesity First-Hand According to a 2009, Bexar County assessment of obesity by school district, 40% of children enrolled in South San Antonio Independent School District (SSAISD) were ...

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