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Latino Kids Need More Safe Places to be Active


By Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director, Salud America!, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded national network based at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Latino kids NEED more safe places to be active.

That’s why Salud America! is presenting six new #SaludHeroes who helped bring new physical activity options to their school, city, and even their smartphone!

WATCH and VOTE for your favorite “#SaludHeroes of Active Spaces” by Nov. 11, 2015, and be entered in a random drawing to win a FREE T-shirt and jump rope!

#SaludHeroes of active spaces are:

  • Health at Your Fingertips. Baker Harrell and Dr. Stephen Pont created an app to bring real-time, geo-located fitness opportunities to people’s phones in Austin, Texas.
  • Move it, Move it. Angela Mora and other city and community leaders teamed up to bring new walking trails to El Paso, Texas.
  • Unlock the Gates. Susan Elizabeth and other local leaders unlocked school playgrounds and fields—and the community showed up to use them in Earlimart, Calif.
  • Complete Streets. Pedestrians and cyclists have safer streets and walkways thanks to the city’s “complete streets” policy in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Homes w/ Physical Activity. Saul Villareal and his housing group decided to add new recreational facilities in new affordable housing developments in South Texas.
  • Schools Get Hip. El Paso school officials created the Get HIP Now program to provide integrated school health programming and afterschool fitness.


The #SaludHeroes with the most votes will be announced in an email and a social media messages from Salud America! by Nov. 18, 2015.

Why are these videos needed?

Latino children are more obese/overweight than their peers. In response, Salud America! developed an online clearinghouse of Latino-focused changes, resources and Salud Hero stories and videos to empower people to drive healthy changes in schools and communities for Latino kids, such as promoting healthy foods in schools and corner stores, public health marketing campaigns, and using digital education to motivate healthy lifestyles.

How are these videos produced?

A team of Salud America! digital curators identify Latino role models who are creating or have already created local healthy changes across the country. Curators use our evidence-based Policy Contribution Spectrum to interview these role models and develop a written case study that describes how the role model contributed to the emergence, development, enactment, and implementation of a policy or systems change. We call these role models Salud Heroes. The Salud Hero written case study is handed off to our Salud America! TV director, who plans to create a 3-minute documentary.  Video production involves a two-camera setup for role model testimonials, and various media techniques to dynamically capture footage of the Salud Hero, their policy or systems change, and possible an event. Videos are edited to combine both on-camera elements and a Latino narrator guides viewers throughout the policy change process. Final videos are uploaded to the SaludHeroes YouTube page, and subsequently our website’s Salud Heroes page.

How can Leaders use these in their work?

We want people to watch the videos and see that real people are capable of making change. We want them to see that there are people just like them who successful drove change, and by watching they can learn the steps needed to create a healthy policy change and apply it in their own community.

We hope that organizations, PTAs, neighborhood associations and more can share the videos at meetings and conference to introduce achievable ideas for healthy change.

Videos are sharable via YouTube, or request broadcast-quality versions at [email protected].

And, for an ‘inside scoop’ part, tell us one thing that was really hard/challenging about collecting these stories/producing the videos and one thing that was super fun and exciting…

The most exciting part is always filming the Salud Heroes themselves—people who are so excited to share their healthy changes and inspire others to make similar changes. Their passion is amazing!

How can you participate?

Email your story of healthy change to Salud America! at [email protected] and we will consider writing it up, filming it, and sharing it with our national audience.