Health and Hunger Through the Lens of Race, Ethnicity and Culture

Type: Report
Topics: Equity, Health & Wellness, School Nutrition

July 30, 2019

Health and Hunger

Parents, students, school system leaders and other administrators reflect on the impact of race, ethnicity and culture on health and hunger.

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, evidences its commitment to educational equity by supporting school system leaders to remove systemic barriers, address inequities in outcomes, and provide robust access to opportunities so that all children may succeed. We see feeding hungry children at school as a leadership issue and have always viewed health, hunger relief, chronic conditions and their relationships to learning and achievement through an equity lens.

In and out of the classroom, the United States is becoming more and more diverse. As demographics shift, so do our paradigms. The metaphor of the melting pot does not adequately describe the rich diversity of America. Eclectic or mosaic may be more appropriate terms as children maintain the values, customs and beliefs of their own cultures, while assuming some traits of the prevailing or dominant culture, like dress, language and food. Values, customs, beliefs and language are key cultural constructs that we must recognize, accept, affirm and use as tools to relieve hunger and increase healthy outcomes among racial and ethnic minority groups.

What follows are not AASA’s words, but the words of parents, students, school system leaders and other administrators that reflect the impact of race, ethnicity and culture on health and hunger. This information is the result of focus groups with African-American, Latinx, and Asian-American stakeholders. I would like to thank Rebecca Nelson Roberts, Kelly Beckwith and Kayla Jackson for their amazing commitment to and leadership of this work and Rebecca Shaw for her unfailing support. AASA is also grateful for the past participation of our sister organizations – the National Alliance of Black School Educators and the Association for Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Special thanks goes to the the students, parents, and administrators who shared their stories with us.

With Support From

Walmart Foundation