Press Release

NCLR Highlights Disparities in Hunger and Health Outcomes for Latinos in Texas

Nearly one-third of Latino children in Texas have limited or uncertain access to enough food

November 30, 2016

CONTACT:
Kathy Mimberg
kmimberg@nclr.org
(202) 776-1714

WASHINGTON, DC—A profile of the nutrition landscape for Latinos in Texas issued today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza) found that nearly one-third (31 percent) of Latino children have inadequate access to food, nearly double the rate of the state’s White children (17 percent). This lack of consistent access to nutritious food can negatively affect cognitive development, school achievement and overall health, and contribute to an increased risk of developing a chronic health condition. In addition, Latinos in Texas are more likely to be overweight or obese than other ethnic groups at all stages of life. These disparities are especially pronounced for Latinos ages 10–17, who are 30 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than other children.

“We are concerned about the health consequences for Latinos in Texas, especially for children, that are related to disparities in income, access to healthy food retailers, and rates of overweight and obesity,” said David Thomsen, MPP, NCLR Health Policy Analyst and author of the profile.

Key findings from “The State of Latino Nutrition in Texas: How Latino Children and Families Are Faring in the Lone Star State” include:

  • Texas has fewer supermarkets per capita than any other state, and low-income and minority communities have less access to full-service grocery stores than high-income communities.
  • The Houston area alone could support an additional 185 grocery stores, and one in five residents currently lacks consistent access to healthy, affordable food.
  • Latino adults in South Texas are more likely to be obese and diabetic than other adults in Texas—38 percent are obese, compared with 29.1 percent of all adult Texans. Additionally, 13 percent of Latino adults in Texas have diabetes, compared with 11 percent of all adult Texans.

 The profile explains the role of federal nutrition programs in alleviating hunger for Texas residents, including its 10.4 million Latinos. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program in Texas serves 3.8 million residents every month; it is ranked among the lowest in the nation for its effectiveness in reaching the state’s most vulnerable residents.

By 2050, Latinos will represent more than half of all Texans, and addressing their health needs via policy interventions will have a positive impact on the state overall. All Texan children and families, including Latinos, would benefit from having improved access to affordable, nutritious food,” said Steven T. Lopez, Manager, Health Policy Project, NCLR.

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.