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Trend Watch: Do Latino Children Receive Good Nutrition?

In visiting schools, I've sometimes heard educators observe that if children are hungry in class, they can't concentrate on learning. I remember that one Oregon teacher of English-language learners, many from low-income migrant families, addressed this issue by keeping a basket of bananas in her classroom that she could give to children who hadn't eaten properly at home.

So I hand it to the National Council of La Raza for introducing a series of information briefs called "Profiles of Latino Health: A Closer Look at Child Nutrition." The series will provide information about both hunger and obesity among Latino children. An information brief in the nutrition series released today provides facts about how many Latino families lack "food security." That means that at times the families don't have enough food for everyone in the household because of a lack of money or other resources for food, the brief says. The problem is particularly acute in Latino families with children, the brief says.

The advocacy group has also brought together a group of advisers to lead an initiative to focus on good nutrition for all children. This month I wrote a story for EdWeek about how the recession has both increased the number of children participating in free lunch programs funded by the federal government in some communities and decreased the number in others, depending on how the programs are implemented.

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