Banner: Healthier Schools

Healthy school environments are paramount for the proper development of Latino children, given the rising percentage of Latino students enrolled in public schools and the higher rates of obesity among Latino children than other racial/ethnic groups.

How can healthy schools be the norm for Latinos?

Implementing and enforcing stronger nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages will help all students have access to healthier snacks at school, which may positively influence body mass index (BMI) trends for all populations, especially those at greatest risk of being overweight or obese.

Because Latino students engage in less physical activity both in and out of school than their peers, implementing programs that reduce barriers may increase active play opportunities for Latino kids.

Moreover, regulation of the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children will help positively influence the quality of their diets.

Download Our New 2016 Healthier Schools Research Review, Issue Brief, and Infographics!

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Healthier Schools: What‘s New?

See SA! Changes SA! Resources Salud Heroes in this topic.

SA! Resource New Study: Gardening Contributes to Fighting Climate Change

Father And Son Working On Allotment Together

Do you have a home or small urban garden? Compost pile? According to a new study, you may be helping the environment and reducing climate change. Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara studied how well-tended gardens for every family home in California may help increase the chance of the state reaching its … Read more

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SA! Change Charter School Hubs Boost Students Perception of Health

HIGH POINT ACADEMY: A school highly focused on wellness since its 2006 founding, the academy ramped up efforts thanks to a wellness grant. (Photo source: Colorado League of Charter Schools).


Bilingual efforts in educating students about the benefits of living a healthy life are changing Colorado (21.3% Latino) charter schools statewide. The Colorado Health Foundation joined up with the Colorado League of Charter Schools to focus on health and wellness in schools. The way the program works is allowing nearby charter schools to collaborate with … Read more

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SA! Change New Legislation Supports More Healthier School Food Variety


Sacramento, California

All kids deserve to have a variety of healthy snack and school food options throughout the day, as most students eat almost more than half of their daily calories at school, but many majority Latino- schools often don’t offer as many healthy fresh fruit and vegetables or salads, reports a study from the Center for Disease … Read more

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SA! Change 2016 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Winner: Santa Monica

santa monica coh winner girl

Santa Monica, California

Data-driven policy is winning in Santa Monica, Calif. (13.1 %Latino). Santa Monica is committed to improving resident’s health by looking at housing, transportation, parks, and youths, thus was one of seven communities to receive the 2016 RWJF Culture of Health Prize. In 2012, Santa Monica developed a Wellbeing Index to measure what was hampering or helping … Read more

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SA! Change Miami-Dade County Recognized In Building A Culture of Health!

A woman and child read together at the Connect Familias center in Little Havana neighborhood of Miami. (Photo Source: RWJF,

Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade (66.8% Latino) has a culturally diverse population of over 2.7 million people, but nearly one in three children are living in poverty and in turn dealing with higher health disparities. In fact, various studies, including one from Havard T.H. Chan, has shown that income level and where you live can impact the health and diet of families. … Read more

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SA! Resource Teens Like To Eat Vegetables When It’s Rebellious

Healthy food options are shown to students at Draper Middle School. (Photo Hans Pennick, AP)

When did it become cool to eat vegetables? For teenagers, it’s when they are fighting injustices and rebelling against the status quo. A new study took place in a school in New Braunfels, Texas (35% Latino) revealing that teens are more likely to choose healthier snacks when they know they are being targeted to eat junk … Read more

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SA! Change Border School Changes School Lunch Through School Farm

Students work on the IDEA school farm in Donna, Texas. (Photo Source: Screen shot, youtube)

Donna, Texas

In 2008 an acre sized school farm started at IDEA schools on the border of Texas and Mexico in Donna, Texas, (92.3% Latino). The farming classes taught by Hernan Coldemero, practice agriculture basics and learn about food systems, all the while consuming healthier school lunches. In fact, 95% of the 6600 lbs of produce is used … Read more

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SA! Resource Join the Movement for #HealthiestSchools

Join the Healthy Schools Program, and find your school! (Photo source:

Is your school on the healthiest schools list? Healthier Generation is asking anyone who cares about healthy schools to join the Healthy Schools Program! They hope to help build healthier schools by giving out free tools to help all kids enjoy physical activity breaks, help schools find healthy ways to fundraise and starting walking clubs. They also … Read more

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SA! Change Testing Out Food Pantries in New York Schools

WNY Maritime Charter School Senior tells local news about how the food pantry helps her family have food for the week. (Photo Source: Time Warner Cable News Screenshot)

Buffalo City School District, New York

A new pilot program is allowing a food bank to be a part of the Western New York Maritime Charter School (17% Latino), hoping to provide the over 80% of the students that rely on free school breakfast and lunches, a way to keep full even after school and focus on their studies. The $20,000 … Read more

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SA! Resource Parents and PTAs: Apply For School Grants Today

Healthy school grant 2

Are you looking for funding to support school physical activity projects and nutrition initiatives for this school year? Action for Healthy Kids is granting over $1.6 million to schools for the 2016-2017 school year! Grants range from $500 to $1,000. Funding can be used to support initiatives such as: Recess, Play Space/Gymnasium Refurbishing, Physical Education … Read more

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SA! Change Healthier Schools with EATS Park City

Kimberly Patterson, a volunteer with EATS Park City, a group that advocates for healthy meals in school, serves up samples to a student. In large part due to EATS Park Citys efforts, the Park City School District is eliminating five unhealthy ingredients from school lunches this year as part of its 15 to Clean initiative. (Photo:

Park City School District, Utah

Students in the Park City School District (20.7% Latino) will now be offered fresh school meals made without unneeded and unhealthy ingredients. The school has decided to take out five ingredients including, trans-fat, high-fructose syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sucralose and sulfites. Since 2012, a non-profit group called EATS Park City has been advocating for healthier school meals … Read more

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SA! Resource 5 Facts About #School Meal Programs You Should Know

Today’s school lunches, such as this one served in Menomonie, Wisconsin, are rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in saturated fat and sodium. (Photo: The PEW Charitable Trusts).

What’s so great about school lunches? Pew Charitable Trusts Research digs into the importance of healthy school meals and the facts about the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). The NSLP serves over 5 billion lunches a year and the SBP provides breakfasts to over 14 million kids. They factor … Read more

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SA! Change New Fruit & Veg Program Offers Up Fresh Food Breaks in School

Teacher Katie Baker and her fourth-grade students at Saguaro Elementary School on Wednesday morning enjoy pieces of cantaloupe. Saguaro is one of six Casa Grande elementary schools participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Photo: ,

Casa Grande Elementary District, Arizona

Want a healthy break at school? Why not bite into fresh fruit. Students in some Arizona schools are now enjoying the fresh apples, cantaloupes, and other fruits and vegetables offered as part of the Dept. of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program,  started back in 2002. The program has opened in 94 schools in Arizona with … Read more

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SA! Change Latino Mom Creates Healthy Options For Son’s School

Rice with her son Aero. (Photo: American Heart Association)

San Diego City Unified School District, California

Guillermina Rice, like many Latina moms, cares about her 13-year-old son, Aero’s health. After helping watch over kids during recess, Rice realized that some kids were being discriminated by other kids because of their weight, she decided to do something. Rice, coming from a family with a history of Diabetes, knows the importance of healthy … Read more

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Public Hub Hub Tree: Salud America!

Salud America! is a national online network of researchers, community group leaders, decision-makers, and members of the public working together to support healthy policy and environmental changes that can help reverse obesity among Latino children.

The network, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a project of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Policies, comments, external links, and contributed stories and images are not affiliated with Salud America!, RWJF, or The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, nor do they necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by these organizations.

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