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At Kansas Corner Store, Bilingual Ads Help People Pick Healthy Foods



In a heavily Latino part of Kansas that struggled with obesity, one coalition stepped up to find new ways to help the Latino community make healthier food choices. How’d they try to do it? They started to change the local food environment by increasing the availability and marketing of healthy foods in local stores—and it worked. EMERGENCE Awareness: Wyandotte County, Kan., which is 27.1% Hispanic and is home to Kansas City, had a growing problem of obesity, with 41% of school children listed as overweight or obese. Officials with the Latino Health for All Coalition (funded in 2008 by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities), were increasingly aware that many residents shop at corner stores or small grocery stores, which do not always offer fresh ...

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A Fresh Food Station Lands in Fairfax County, Va.



In the 22% Latino Fairfax County Public School District in Fairfax, Va., a parent group called Real Food for Kids had rid school cafeterias of highly processed junk foods and improved the nutrition of school snacks and menus. But the change was not very visible to students. So the group, led by parent JoAnne Hammermaster, helped bring a fresh food stations showcase the healthier selections—and add new ones—for students at district schools. EMERGENCE Awareness: Childhood obesity is a priority for the parent group Real Food for Kids (RFFK), which pushes for healthy changes in the Fairfax County Public School District (FCPSD), a 22% Latino district in Fairfax, Va. In 2012, for example, RFFK drove FCPSD leaders to remove foods with artificial dyes, additives, and other highly ...

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Latino Teen Helps Bring a Salad Bar to His High School in San Antonio, Texas



Alexander Castillo was looking to make some healthy changes in his own life when he came to the realization that his school lacked tasty, nutritious lunch options. Why couldn’t his school have a salad bar? After joining the Mayor’s Fitness Council Student Ambassador program, developing a plan with his mentor, and reaching out to his district’s food services department, Alexander was able to secure a salad bar for his high school. The new salad bar led to an increase in salad purchases and a new outlook on eating fresh fruit and vegetables at his school. EMERGENCE Awareness: Alexander Castillo, a student at Southwest Academy (a non-traditional alternative high school in the mostly Latino city of San Antonio, Texas) set a goal to pursue his passion for wrestling in 2014. He ...

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Dignowity Hill Farmers’ Market



Farmers’ markets are a great place to find fresh fruits and vegetables when your local grocery store doesn’t sell them. But when your neighborhood doesn’t have a farmers’ market OR a local grocery store with fresh fruits and vegetables—are you just out of luck? Find out how a Latina school teacher-turned healthy food activist was inspired by her friend to start a farmers’ market in her neighborhood in San Antonio, Texas, so neighbors could not only have better access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but learn how to cook tasty dishes that make healthy eating a delicious way of life. EMERGENCE Awareness: As a computer teacher at an elementary school in inner-city San Antonio, TX, Michelle Griego watches kids choose chips over carrots daily. San Antonio sits within ...

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Campaign Urges San Antonio Residents to “Veg Out”



Science backs up your mom’s old adage: “Eat your fruits and vegetables if you want to be healthy and strong!” Unfortunately, this message is often lost or unheeded, buried beneath junk food ads relentlessly targeting kids, especially Latinos. Leaders in San Antonio, Texas decided to combat the city’s troubling obesity rate with a campaign designed to get kids (and their parents!) to eat more fruits and veggies. The “Veg Out” campaign, backed by science and a diverse coalition of public health, school, city, and other officials, aims to have a lasting impact on the health of families in San Antonio. EMERGENCE Awareness: San Antonio is a unique, mostly Latino city known for its rich culture and traditions. However, some cultural traditions, like the consumption of ...

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“Sugar Smarts” Bilingual Campaign in Boston against Sugary Drinks for Kids



The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) was ready to step up the fight to improve health in the face of rising obesity problems among racial/ethnic populations. Latino and black high-school students were especially overweight/obese (34.2% and 35.9%, respectively), possibly due to the fact that 24% of students consume at least one soda daily, according to a study. The BPHC developed a bilingual public health campaign against sugary drinks to help racial/ethnic residents make healthier choices. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: Obesity is typically a bigger problem among racial/ethnic populations. Boston, which is increasingly diverse, with an 18% Latino and 24% black population, exemplifies this disparity. In 2010, Latino and black high-school students were very overweight (34.2% ...

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Digital and Video Nutrition Education for Kids in Class and Out



School lunches and snacks are becoming more nutritious thanks to improved federal nutrition regulations—but this is only part of the school food solution. Nutrition education for kids is a critical component. One seasoned children’s TV producer, who witnessed the childhood obesity epidemic as she raised her own kids, had an idea to use new technology to engage kids in learning about healthy living. Because of her, thousands of kids in Massachusetts, New York, and Florida have begun learning through KickinNutrition.TV, a digital platform for teachers to use to instruct students on healthy eating habits and exercise through videos, online gaming, and a social-media-like engagement designed for elementary- and middle-schoolers. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: Natasha Lance Rogoff worked ...

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Sweet Victory: Sugary Drink Tax Passes in Berkeley



How did smallish Berkeley, Calif., become the nation’s first city to pass a sugary drink tax in 2014, after many other cities had failed? People power! Local health advocates like Xavier Morales had long supported a tax on sugary drinks, believing the higher price would discourage consumption. Research studies indicate that such a decrease in consumption could potentially reduce obesity and diabetes rates, especially for Latino kids. Because Latino children are heavily targeted by sugary drink and junk food advertisements, this issue was especially important to Berkeley’s 11% Latino community. In the end, it took passionate advocates, a well-organized campaign for a sugary drink tax, and national attention to eventually bring sweet victory for public health advocates in ...

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Chicago Schools Bring Daily P.E. (and Recess and in-Class Activity) to Students



Students at Chicago Public Schools weren’t getting enough physical activity and time spent in P.E., so district officials created a new department solely to improve the health and wellness of students. The department’s new chief health officer led the enactment of three new health policies and the rollout of a plan to bring at least 30 minutes of daily P.E. to all students. Soon students in grades K-8 will be getting a minimum of 150 minutes of P.E. a week, and all high school students will be required to take P.E. every semester. EMERGENCE Awareness: As the third-largest school district in the nation, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are responsible for ensuring a healthy learning environment for its diverse student body (45% Hispanic and 39% black). For many years, the district ...

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