What Are the Benefits of the SNAP Program?

Last week, we joined MomsRising for their regular #FoodFri Twitter chat. The topic for this chat: the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, for American families. We joined as co-hosts with our friends at Food Resource Action Center (FRAC), and the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities.

Below are NCLR highlights from the chat. Join MomsRising for their #FoodFri chat every Friday at 1 pm ET.


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Healthy and Ready for the Future – A Convening to Address Latino Children’s Oral Health in Rural America

NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health (IHH) recently hosted six Affiliates at a kick-off meeting for Healthy and Ready for the Future, an initiative aimed at improving the oral health of Latino children living in rural communities, especially those from migrant and seasonal farmworker families. NCLR is partnering with Affiliates that are either Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or community-based organizations with Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs. Our partners will build upon their work of linking children to a medical or dental “home”—such as primary health care or dental providers— that can provide ongoing care. Coming from California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Washington, the Affiliate partners have a wealth of experience serving low-income Latino children and families in rural areas.

MSHS programs provide an array of vital services to 34,000 children from migrant and seasonal farmworker families every year. FQHCs and Community Health Centers often serve as a medical and dental home for these children and strive to improve the health of underserved communities and vulnerable populations by providing access to quality care. Aside from increasing access to early oral health care for children, Healthy and Ready for the Future will launch a culturally sensitive, bilingual outreach and education campaign to boost awareness of how important it is for families to get early preventive oral health care and establish a dental home for their children.

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Energy Balance Is Vital for Maintaining a Healthy Weight

By Alejandra Gepp, Associate Director, Institute for Hispanic Health, NCLR

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Most of us like to eat and have a hard time doing physical activity. However, it is common knowledge that if we eat more calories than our bodies need, then we will gain weight over time. A healthy weight is important for better overall health, preventing and controlling conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea, as well as chronic diseases such as heart disease, and certain types of cancer. In addition, a healthy weight has the added bonus of giving us more energy and making us feel better.

Energy balance is critical to weight control and management. When the amount of calories we get from food and drink equals our bodies’ energy needs, we have reached “energy balance.” It is easy to think of energy balance as energy “IN” equals energy “OUT”.

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Promotores de Salud: Agents of Change for A Healthier Lifestyle

By Elizabeth Carrillo, MPH, Project Coordinator, Institute for Hispanic Health, NCLR

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November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to diabetes and how it affects nearly 30 million Americans. Latino adults are disproportionately affected by this disease, being nearly twice as likely as non-Latino White adults to be diagnosed. Many factors contribute to this disproportionate risk, including age, obesity, family history, and ethnicity.

Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that can lead to additional complications. The good news is that it’s manageable, and those who have better access to health care and community resources tend to be more likely to receive treatment. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is a key step to reducing one’s risk for developing diabetes. One way to better understand risk factors and learn about preventing or managing diabetes is by participating in culturally sensitive classes. They’re often free and led by peer facilitators or promotores de salud (community health workers).

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What Are the Benefits of Eating Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables?

By Elizabeth Carrillo, MPH, Project Coordinator, NCLR Institute for Hispanic Health

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The air is warmer, the sky is bluer, and the sun is brighter and out longer. Indeed, summer is upon us. The season means more outdoor activities and gatherings with family and friends, more barbecues or cookouts, and more opportunities to soak in some vitamin D directly from the sun.

It also means an array of fruits and vegetables in the produce aisle of our local grocery store, farmers market, community garden, or perhaps, in our own backyard—and not just any array—an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Consuming fruit and vegetables is great for our health, as they provide our bodies with essential vitamins and nutrients, and help lower our risk of certain cancers.

Yet, consuming fruit and vegetables at their peak harvest point, in their freshest state, well, the flavor is simply better.

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