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Research Reports Identify Troubling Trends in Eating for Latino Students

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New research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Salud America concludes that Latino students have greater exposure to unhealthy snacks and are therefore at greater obesity risk in the long term, when compared to their anglo or African-American counterparts.

The report, Salud America! Competitive Foods and Beverages Among Latino Students, comprehensively reviewed existing research in competitive foods, sugary drinks, state food policy, and health evaluation for meta-analysis, and identified several worrisome trends. Among them are:

  • Latino students are exposed to more competitive foods than their African-American or anglo counterparts, including name-brand fast food and snack bars/carts.
  • Latino students were more likely than peers buy and eat snacks from school.
  • Those students eating unhealthy snacks at school were also more likely to eat unhealthy snacks outside of school.


In addition, the trend extended into policy.

  • States with high Latino populations had more lax snack and sugary drink policies for schools, and were less likely than other states to implement nutritional guidelines.


But the report points out that it isn’t all bad news. Recent research in the report also noted that following changes in California’s laws in 2007, there were marked decreases in the availability of sugary drinks, unhealthy snacks, and competitive foods. These changes led to increases in water consumption and a decrease of 158 calories per Latino student.

Read the full report.

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