By Lisa Pino, Deputy Administrator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
The Latino community faces dual challenges when it comes to nutrition since hunger and obesity can often co-exist. Hispanics in the U.S. have higher rates of both food insecurity and obesity. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is addressing the challenges through its 15 nutrition assistance programs, many of which include nutrition education.
To help combat these rising problems in the Latino community, I spent a week meeting with Hispanic community leaders at the national conventions of the League of the United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).
I talked about the need for access to nutritious food, more participation in FNS’ nutrition assistance programs and nutrition education coupled with increased physical activity.
I addressed community activists from all over the country at the NCLR nutrition town hall, “Childhood Obesity: A Call To Action,” in San Antonio, Texas. The session was well attended and I received a lot of feedback afterwards. I made some great contacts with local anti-hunger advocates. They asked questions about access to programs and how FNS decides which foods are eligible for purchase under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
I then traveled to Albuquerque, N.M., to speak at the LULAC workshop “Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity.” I was able to make great contacts with individuals working with both the Hispanic and Native American populations in the Southwest.
During my week-long trip, I had the opportunity to reach even more Latinos by giving interviews to local Spanish media, including a San Antonio Univision Television affiliate and an Albuquerque Univision radio station — reaching hundreds of thousands Spanish-speaking households in one week.
My television interview in Spanish is available on this link: http://www.univision.com/content/videoplayer.jhtml?cid=2471127