Ensuring Our Kids Have a Healthy Summer

On Tuesday, June 7, NCLR joined another weekly #SaludTues Twitter chat to discuss children’s health and how parents can ensure their kids stay healthy over the summer. Because students are on summer vacation, they may lack access to regular nutritious meals and the routine that the school year provides. Luckily, there are many ways parents can keep their young ones healthy throughout the hot summer months.

Below are selected highlights from our chat:

Janet Murguía Testimony at ESSA Hearing: Full Remarks

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Today our President and CEO, Janet Murguía, testified before the before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions’ hearing, “ESSA Implementation: Perspectives from Education Stakeholders” to provide the civil rights perspective. Below are the remarks as prepared for delivery:

“NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, an American institution recognized in the book Forces for Good as one of the leading nonprofits in the nation. We represent over 250 Affiliates—local, community-based organizations in 41 states and the District of Columbia—that provide education, health, housing, workforce development, and other services to millions of Americans and immigrants annually. Many of these Affiliates operate as charter schools, provide early education, or offer after-school programming or family literacy services. Their experiences inform NCLR’s federal agenda.

“NCLR was proud to support the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act as a much needed update to our federal education law. Notably, for the first time, English language proficiency will be included in states’ accountability systems. However, passage was just the first step. It is critical that ESSA be implemented in a manner consistent with the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure its promise for all students.

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Mamas + Masa + Folic Acid = Healthier Babies

This Mother’s Day, we want to reflect on a recent announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow corn masa flour—the main ingredient of tortillas—to be fortified with folic acid. By fortifying a dietary staple among Latino families, corn masa manufacturers will help raise our community’s levels of this B vitamin that is essential in producing red blood cells and in making and repairing DNA. This is a major public health approach to reduce the rate of potential birth defects, such as spina bifida, among all children.

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#FoodFri Twitter Chat Highlights

On Friday, April 1, NCLR joined Mom’s Rising and Voices for Healthy Kids for a Twitter chat on the importance of providing healthy food for our children, as well as instilling healthy habits early in life. Nearly 1 million Twitter users were reached and over 400 took part in this vital discussion on the future of our children and community.

Check out the highlights below!

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Strong Child Nutrition Programs Are Critical for Latino Children and Families

Through the Child Nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Reauthorization Act, Congress has the opportunity to invest in the health and well-being of millions of children and families, including Latinos. Reauthorization should maintain and strengthen the critical child nutrition programs authorized under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, and ensure that low-income children have access to healthy meals and snacks at school, in after-school programs, and during the summer months. These programs are particularly important for Latino children and their opportunity and ability to lead healthy, productive lives.

Latino children face critical health disparities in their communities and are more likely to struggle with hunger and chronic health conditions like obesity than their peers. Low-income children, including 4.7 million Latino children living in food-insecure households, count on child nutrition programs to act as a buffer against hunger throughout the year.

The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program hold particular importance for the Latino community. Seven million Latino children receive free and reduced-price school meals every day, accounting for one-third of all students participating in the program. Children living in households struggling with hunger consume 26% of their daily calories during school meals, compared to 16% for other children. It is critical that Latino children, especially those at risk of going hungry, have consistent access to healthy, nutritious food that might not be available at home.

It is not just at school where Latino children benefit from child nutrition programs. The Child and Adult Care Food Program provides nutritious meals and snacks for preschool-aged children in day care and school-aged children in after-school programs. Latino children have high participation rates in this program; 30% of four-year-olds in this program are Latino, compared to 20% of children younger than five overall. Studies show that low-income toddlers and preschool-aged children enrolled in the program are more likely to have a healthy weight for their age than their peers in child care with meals supplied from home.

For 70 years, federal child nutrition programs have played a vital role in ensuring that all children have the opportunity to grow up healthy. Increasing access to healthy, affordable food decreases hunger, improves academic success, and allows children to thrive. By reauthorizing these important programs, Congress has the opportunity to affirm its commitment to the health and well-being of America’s future.

For more information about the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act and its impact on Latino children and families, download our fact sheet.