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!

Research Review
Infographic: Physical Activity

Healthier Schools: What‘s New?

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

SA! Change Chicago Schools Partner with Water Agencies to Green Schoolyards

Chicago Public School District 299, Illinois

Recess Drought and Neighborhood Flooding School playgrounds had been neglected in the third largest school district in the nation, Chicago Public Schools, due in part to lack of funding as well as to the nationwide shift away from recess. In 2011, Chicago Public Schools passed a recess policy that included funding to repair and improve … Read more

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SA! Change Real Estate Agency Raises Money to Install Water Bottle Filling Stations in Schools

Latino Health Water Station

Newport-Mesa Unified School District, California

Kristin Barry, a partner and broker at Arbor Real Estate in Newport Beach, California (7.2% Latino), wanted schools to have clean, cool, filtered water for students to refill their water bottles and reduce waste that ended up in the ocean.  Drinking enough water to keep your body hydrated is an important part of staying healthy for … Read more

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SA! Change Teachers Connect Children with Nature One Day Per Week

Latino Health Outdoor Learning

Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin

Outdoor Education  As part of an outdoor education study, ten elementary teachers in Madison, Wisconsin (6.8% Latino) committed to bring their second- through fourth- grade students outside one day per week. Their outdoor study concluded with a grant-funded Environmental Education Summit through the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Teachers’ Outdoor Environmental Education Fund. The summit … Read more

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SA! Change Texas SHAC Duties Expand to Look Into Joint Use Agreements

Latino Health Shared Use


Perhaps the most significant barrier families face in preventing and reducing obesity and chronic disease is a lack of access to safe places to walk, play, and be active. In many communities, schools are the only no-cost facilities with playgrounds, tracks, pools, and sports fields. Open, shared, and joint use agreements can establish terms and conditions … Read more

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SA! Change New Law Allows Texas Schools to Set Up Food Pantries

Latino Health San Antonio School


Texas State Representative Diego Bernal compiled a report on San Antonio school issues and found that many kids, even in more affluent school districts, where going hungry while schools threw away, “untouched, unopened, ripe, perfectily edible food,” according to one source. Bernal championed legislation (HB 367), with the help of State Senator José Menénedez, to … Read more

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SA! Resource 500 Cities Project: Local Data for Better Health

Latino health zip matters physical activity diabetes

In December 2016, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the CDC Foundation released the 500 Cities dataset, which contains estimates of adult chronic disease, unhealthy behaviors, and preventive care for census tracts in 500 of the largest American cities. After a day-long conference in December, 2016, to … Read more

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SA! Change LA Supports No More McTeachers Nights for LA Schools!

Los Angeles, California

A healthy movement is growing in Los Angeles (48.5% % Latino) where schools are saying no to the unhealthy marketing of McTeachers nights. This week of May 12th, 2015, schools are being asked to vote on nutrition and fundraising policies, including voting on policies around food marketing for local wellness school policies. The United States … Read more

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SA! Resource Become A School Wellness Hero is asking mom’s to become school wellness heroes to help make sure physical education and healthy foods are a part of school wellness policies. Kids spend most of their day at school, eating most of their calories and expending most of their energy at school, so it is vital for the school environment to … Read more

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SA! Change Maryland Partnerships Help Health For Afterschool Wellness


“MOST”, Maryland Out of School Time Network’s (MOST) Healthy Behaviors Initiative (HBI) has worked to help promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards since 2013. Today MOST uses VISTA volunteers as afterschool professionals to support 30 programs across the state today. The programs’ work is guided by the Alliance’s Healthy Out of School Time Framework and … Read more

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SA! Resource New White Paper on Health, Behavioral Design, and the Built Environment

Latino health physical activity behavioral design

Food and physical activity are both continuous and cumulative habits. Small changes every day can drastically improve your health and quality of life. However, the built world, whether intentional or not, influences the human experience. Many people live and work in places that impede or reduce physical activity and sell or promote unhealthy food. The National … Read more

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SA! Change New Policy Would Bring Food Pantries to Texas Schools


Overall Latinos are disproportionately affected by poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment compared to their white peers. According to Feeding America, Latinos are also more likely to receive emergency food assistance than their White, non-Hispanic peers and less likely to receive SNAP benefits and are Latinos are more than twice as likely to be food insecure … Read more

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Salud Hero Video Projects Influence Student Health

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Film is a creative, impactful way to tell a story—especially when it deals with real-world problems and solutions. In Las Cruces, New Mexico (67.1% Latino), school dietitian Barbara Berger saw the need to increase eating well and physical activity among students. Berger and others worked to get funding to enable students to make creative videos … 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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