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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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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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