December 9, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC—A profile of the nutrition landscape for Latinos in Florida issued today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza) indicates that six in 10 Latino children live in low-income households, and the number of Latino households with inadequate access to enough food is higher than the state average (13.8 percent). In addition, more than 2.5 million Floridians live in areas where it is difficult to buy nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meats, seafood, and whole grains. This lack of consistent access to nutritious food can negatively affect children’s cognitive development, school achievement and overall health, and contribute to an increased risk of developing a chronic health condition.
“The disparities seen among household incomes and the difficulty in accessing nutritious food in Florida play a role in the higher rates of hunger, overweight and obesity among Latinos. This takes a toll on Latino health, as it is difficult to stay healthy when you do not have enough to eat and have limited access to supermarkets and produce stands that offer a variety of healthy foods,” said David Thomsen, NCLR Health Policy Analyst, and author of the profile.
Key findings from “The State of Latino Nutrition in Florida: How Latino Children and Families Are Faring in the Sunshine State” include:
- The number of Latino households in Florida that have inadequate access to food (18 percent) is higher than that of White households (14 percent).
- Latinos in Florida are overweight and obese at higher rates than other ethnic groups at all stages of life. These disparities are especially pronounced for Latinos in kindergarten through eighth grade, with 41.4 percent of Latino children overweight or obese, compared with 32.9 percent of White children
- In Miami-Dade County alone, 250,000 residents live in a low-income area with poor access to supermarkets, as well as higher-than-average death rates from chronic conditions related to poor diet.
The profile highlights the role of federal nutrition programs in alleviating hunger for millions of Floridians, including its 4.8 million Latinos. In particular, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) in Florida serves 3.5 million residents every month. Florida’s SNAP program is also ranked among the highest in the nation for its effectiveness in reaching the state’s most vulnerable residents.
“Latino children and families—like all Americans—must have the tools to lead a healthy, productive life, including access to nutritious, affordable food. With 5 million Latinos living in Florida, policy prescriptions to address gaps in their health needs are important for the state’s overall well-being and economic success,” said Steven T. Lopez, NCLR Health Policy Project Manager.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.