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Latino Students Create Healthy Campaign for School Foods in Omaha, Nebraska



Obesity rates have nearly doubled over the past 15 years in Nebraska. The youth obesity rate in Douglas County, which includes the state’s largest city, Omaha, is even higher (28%) than the state’s overall rate. A group of Latino youth advocates recognized obesity’s pervasiveness in their high-school ranks in Omaha and decided to help their peers improve their nutritional knowledge and make healthier food choices at school. This effort yielded a novel “Green is Go” marketing campaign that simultaneously highlights healthy food options in school cafeterias and stigmatizes less healthy options. Not only did the students conceptualize this campaign, they worked with school and other officials to get it implemented in their cafeteria. EMERGENCE Awareness: Omaha, Neb., has a ...

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‘Sugar Bites’ Campaign Educates on Sugary Drinks & Childhood Obesity



Sugary drinks are a large component of added calories in the American diet. Latino kids have increased their consumption of sugary drinks—such as soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit-flavored drinks, and flavored milk—between 1991 and 2008, research shows. In Contra Costa, Calif., where 24% of the population is Latino, one of every three kids from low-income families are overweight or obese. A county organization worked with an advertising agency to develop a bilingual social marketing campaign, called Sugar Bites, to urge parents to choose water for their kids instead of sugary drinks. EMERGENCE Awareness: First 5 California is a state organization funded by Proposition 10, a statewide ballot initiative passed in 1998, to conduct health and education programs to benefit children ages ...

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Houston Coach Brings Sports, Afterschool Programs, & Health Councils to Students



Kids at Westwood Elementary School in Houston lacked programs to keep them active after classes ended each day. Samuel Karns, a health fitness instructor/coach at Westwood, decided to step up to the challenge and find a way to bring more exercise and sport related activities to keep his students moving. His work resulted in a series of afterschool fitness clubs, an afterschool intermural sports program, a student-led school health advisory council (K-SHAC) for elementary-school students, an action based learning lab and a one-of-a-kind district-wide initiative to bring physical activity to sixth-graders. Emergence Awareness: In fall 2009, Samuel Karns was only a few months into his job as a health fitness instructor/coach at Westwood Elementary School in the Spring Branch ...

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Latino Group Works to Add Healthier Foods at Stores in Milwaukee Neighborhood



When clinic worker Tatiana Maida had trouble finding many healthy products in the small grocery stores in her Latino neighborhood in Milwaukee, she decided to do something about it. She teamed up with concerned parents, dietitians  academics, and store owners to launch a group dedicated to bring baked snacks,hormone-free milk, antibiotic-free eggs, and nutritious grains and seeds into the community’s food environment. When this team of people from all walks of life worked together, they were able to infuse healthy food options into the neighborhood. EMERGENCE Awareness: About 80% of the patients at the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center (SSCHC) in Milwaukee’s South side neighborhood are Latinos. 77% of the adult patients are either obese or overweight, and frequently ...

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Learning Lots and Eating Well at the Guadalupe Community Garden



The Guadalupe neighborhood in Lubbock, Texas has seen some tough times. With many folks struggling to make ends meet, healthy eating has not always been a priority. As a result, obesity has been on the rise in children and adults. It took one determined Latina to get the community back to their roots of growing delicious, fresh foods. Lala Chavez partnered with a local university, her church, and ultimately the city to plant a community garden that would give the neighborhood with a space for learning, activities, and delicious tomatoes. EMERGENCE Awareness: Lala Chavez’s family has lived in the Guadalupe neighborhood for generations. A predominantly Latino community on Lubbock’s northeast side, the neighborhood has a history of poverty. “My grandfather was the first one to ...

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Brain Breaks & Afterschool Clubs Bring Physical Activity to Middle Schoolers



Principal Matt Pope wanted to make a difference in the lives of the children at DJ Red Simon Middle School in Kyle, Texas, just south of Austin. When he found out that Simon students had among the highest obesity rates in the district, he immediately took action to introduce healthy changes to the students. The school eliminated junk food on campus and at concession stands and encouraged students to eat at least one fruit or vegetable during breakfast and lunch. They also implemented a policy to require PE for all, brain breaks throughout the day and—at the request of students—afterschool clubs to keep them active. EMERGENCE Awareness: Middle-school teachers face enormous responsibilities—meeting high academic standards, preparing students for real-world challenges, and ...

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The Brownsville Farmers’ Market Launches a Culture of Health



Residents of the largely Latino city of Brownsville, Texas, struggle to find affordable, healthy food in their neighborhoods, and overweight/obesity rates were higher than 80%, said City Commissioner Dr. Rose Gowen. The situation spurred health officials, researchers, and community members to unite and create a farmers’ market that would serve up fresh produce to residents. EMERGENCE Awareness: Downtown Brownsville, Texas, is home to many low-income Latino families. Many of these families struggle with chronic diseases, like diabetes. In fact, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, more than a quarter of children in Brownsville are overweight or obese. Brownsville City Commissioner and physician Dr. Rose Gowen saw this decline in community health. Eating ...

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Swapping Sugary Drinks for Water Coolers For a Healthy Start



Research shows that children who consume too many sugary drinks risk developing diseases related to unhealthy weight. Latino children, because they tend to consume more sugary drinks than their peers, are at an even higher risk. Health leaders, school officials, and parents in one Latino community in California worked to create a policy to bump sugary drinks out of early-childcare centers and help kids fall in love with water at a young age. EMERGENCE Awareness: More than 44% of children overall in Madera County, Calif., are overweight or obese, and Latino children have even higher rates. Public health groups across California are recognizing these issues and working to reduce them. CA4Health, directed by the Public Health Institute (PHI) in California, is a statewide healthy-living ...

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Doctor Starts a Farmer’s Market in Her Houston Clinic



Dr. Ann Barnes talks to her patients daily about their health. When Barnes, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Chief Medical Officer of Legacy Community Health, advises them to eat more fruits and vegetables, she hears common excuses. "'It’s too expensive, there’s nowhere near my house [to buy fresh produce].' That was weighing on me as a clinician," Barnes said. Barnes was worried some of her low-income patients would return to her office with illnesses or worse—pre-diabetes, heart problems, cancer—if they continued to not have access to fresh, healthy foods that would help them prevent disease. Then she had a revelation. Big Idea: Farmer's Market at the Clinic Houston, Texas, where nearly half the population is Latino, community ...

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