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Latinos Living Healthy: LULAC Committed to Ending Hunger and Obesity in the Latino Community

Posted by Lisa Pino, Deputy Administrator of the SNAP Program at the Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture on 07/25/2011 @ 07:00 PM

It was an honor to join LULAC and represent USDA at the 2011 LULAC National Convention in Cincinnati last month for their “Latinos Living Healthy” workshop. LULAC led a great discussion as I joined other speakers from HHS, the National Park Service, and community organizations to share valuable information and resources available at the federal, state, and local level that can make a difference in the everyday health and nutrition of Latino families across the country.

As Deputy Administrator of the SNAP program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, I shared how USDA’s 15 nutrition assistance programs comprise the nation’s critical safety to combat huger. At a time when 40% of Latino children are either overweight or obese, and a third of Latino children are living in poverty, it is important that Latino families know that USDA programs can make the difference in providing good food on the table.

USDA’s SNAP program is now serving over 44 million people each month. USDA’s National School Lunch program serves 32 million children per year, and USDA’s WIC program serves more than 9 million pregnant and post-partum Moms, infants, and children, 42% of which are Latino. But these figures are not just numbers. They represent children, people, and families all over the country who need an extra hand to put food on the table.

USDA and the Administration have been working hard to address how USDA’s nutrition assistance programs serve all communities, including Latinos. The President issued a goal of ending childhood hunger and signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act last December, which will improve school meals. The First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative is getting everyone to work together to end childhood obesity. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, where I work, has partnered with USDA’s Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to launch La Mesa Completa, our Latino outreach initiative. SNAP released its new online retailer locator in English and Spanish.

USDA programs help families get healthy meals, and access to healthy food is critical as 26.9% of Latinos continue to be food insecure. Latinos experience both hunger and obesity at higher rates. This dynamic seems like a paradox, but when stretching dollars at the supermarket becomes a challenge, it may be easier to afford caloric dense foods, rather than nutrient dense foods.

But SNAP can help. SNAP can provide that financial cushion so that families have more nutritious food options. To learn more about how to apply, call the bilingual SNAP hotline at 1-800-221-5689 or visit www.fns.usda.gov/snap . To learn where kids can get free USDA meals this summer, call the bilingual Hunger Center at 1-866-3HUNGER.

Call or visit us today, because no should go hungry in America, especially our children.

Lisa Pino is Deputy Administrator of the SNAP program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, at the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She was appointed in her role by the President and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak in May, 2009.

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Join the Campaign to Fight Asthma and Dirty Air in Latino Communities!

Posted by Jorge Madrid on 06/02/2011 @ 07:00 PM

LULAC and the Center for American Progress Action Fund Push for Cleaner Air

By Jorge Madrid, Center for American Progress

Espanol

LULAC is partnering with the Center for American Progress Action Fund to lead a campaign against asthma and other harmful health effects from coal-fired power plants. This campaign is already underway, and it will continue until July 2, 2011.

Asthma affects all Americans. But Latino communities are particularly vulnerable to respiratory diseases such as asthma. They are three times more likely than whites to die from it. Latino children are also 60 percent more at risk than white children to suffer asthma attacks. These crippling health disparities are made worse by the fact that Latinos are the least likely of all ethnic groups to have health insurance and access to treatment and preventive care.

Higher asthma rates also mean more missed days of work and school in addition to increased medical costs. Every day in America, 40,000 people miss school or work due to asthma, and 5,000 people visit the emergency room due to the disease.

Asthma is triggered by dirty air, and asthma rates are higher in places with bad air quality. Exhaust from cars, factory emissions, smoke, and dust cause poor air quality, which can aggravate the lungs and worsen chronic lung diseases, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Coal-fired power plants are also a big part of the problem. Power plant pollutants are a well-known trigger, as is smog. Asthma has no known cure, but it can be controlled by limiting exposure to these triggers.

The EPA is responsible for protecting our children and families from dangerous pollutants and toxins. They have a proven track record of reducing deaths and illness due to stronger clean air standards.

The EPA took a critical step toward cleaner air on March 16, 2011, by proposing its first-ever air toxics standards for coal-fired plants. The proposed rule would limit emissions of mercury, arsenic, and other air toxics from power plants for the first time. Adoption of the air toxics rule will prevent approximately 17,000 premature deaths, 120,000 asthma attacks, and 12,000 hospitalizations and emergency room visits every year in 2016, according to EPA.

All Americans should make a strong statement to the EPA that they want reductions in mercury, arsenic, and other toxic air pollution from power plants. Latino communities in particular can send a message that they want clean, healthy air for their children and families.

LULAC urges its members to take action against asthma and dirty air in our communities!

iTome medidas para asegurar un aire limpio ahora!

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