Study: American Diet Shows Modest Improvement (Especially among Latinos)


iStock_000013044542LargeU.S. dietary quality has improved steadily over the past decade, but not among certain income and racial/ethnic groups, according to a new study.

That’s usually bad news for Latinos.

But the study, led by Harvard School of Public Health, indicated that Mexican Americans actually had the best dietary quality due to dietary traditions and culture, Medical News Today reports.

African Americans and those with lower income and less education had the worst dietary quality.

Income-related differences in diet quality are likely associated with price (healthy foods generally cost more) and access (low-income people may have limited access to stores that sell healthy foods), according to the Harvard Gazette.

“The overall improvement in diet quality is encouraging, but the widening gap related to income and education presents a serious challenge to our society as a whole,” Walter Willett, senior author of the study of Harvard School of Public Health, told the Harvard Gazette.

Overall, U.S. dietary quality improved due to reduced trans fat consumption, reduced sugary drink intake, and more whole fruit, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

Consumption of vegetables, red and processed meat and alcohol remained steady.

However, salt intake increased.

Read more about the study here.


Report: Hispanics Make Up 21% of New HIV/AIDS Infections


hiv aidsHispanics comprised 21% of new HIV/AIDS infections each year in the United States.

About 1 in 36 Hispanic men and 1 in 106 Hispanic women will be diagnosed with HIV at some point, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Latin Post reports.

That’s why the CDC launched a new Spanish-language campaign, Podemos Detener el VIH Una Conversación a la Vez (We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time).

The campaign aims to provide knowledge and promote talking about HIV prevention to “increase HIV awareness, decrease stigma and shame that are too often associated with HIV, and play a part in stopping HIV in the Hispanic/Latino community.”

CDC offers great educational resources and materials.

It also has a four-part, telenovela-style video series about how a fictional Hispanic family deals with HIV/AIDS (produced by AltaMed):

The campaign also is available for Hispanics in English.

Infographic: Health Fits into Every Day


Check out this new infographic about how health can be a daily routine.

The infographic, from our friends at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living and the CATCH program, ties together several tips to incorporate healthy changes into your life every day.

Tips include things like:

  • Walk or bike to school to get moving early.
  • Encourage your kids to drink water throughout the day instead of sugary drinks.
  • Playing catch or soccer with the family are easy ways to stay active after school and provide a great opportunity to talk with your kids about their day.

See the full infographic here.



Ranking: The Top 40 Schools for Hispanics


diversityWhat are the best schools for Hispanics to seek higher education?

HispanicBusiness ranked the top-40 “Best Schools” based on the number of Hispanic students enrolled, degrees awarded, full-time Hispanic faculty and programs, and more.

Of the 40 schools combined, Texas has 12, followed by Florida, with 10, and California, with six.

“While these schools are obviously assisted by being in states with a large Hispanic population, they also have top-notch programs that ensure these students stay at home to go to graduate school,” HispanicBusiness reports. “Many of them placed very high in the student-services part of our scoring.”

The ranking includes the top-10 in four school categories: graduate, medical, law, and business.

Here are the top schools by category:

  • MEDICAL−School of Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio: 19.7% Hispanic graduate enrollment; 21.3% of degrees awarded to Hispanics; 14.8% Hispanic faculty.
  • ENGINEERING−College of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology: 7.2% Hispanic graduate enrollment; 5.9% of MBA degrees awarded to Hispanics; 2.9% Hispanic faculty.
  • LAW−College of Law, Florida International: 46.4% Hispanic graduate enrollment; 41.3% of degrees awarded to Hispanics; 22.7% Hispanic faculty.
  • BUSINESS−College of Business Administration at the University of Texas at El Paso: 64% Hispanic graduate enrollment; 59.6% of degrees awarded to Hispanics; 26.7% Hispanic faculty.

The top overall school was the University of New Mexico (UNM), which ranked first among graduate schools, sixth in engineering, and 10th in both law and medicine.

“UNM, which among the four disciplines averaged a 31.6% Hispanic enrollment rate, also has one of the highest Hispanic faculty rates in the country and stellar programs to attract and retain Hispanic students,” according to HispanicBusiness.

Why We Can’t Ignore Heart Disease in Hispanics

via Huffington Post

via Huffington Post

Cancer recently passed heart disease as the top killer of Latinos.

But heart disease shouldn’t be ignored.

Culturally appropriate health promotion, prevention and treatment is vital to saving lives and preserving Latino families, said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for the American Heart Association, in a Huffington Post article.

The article lists several reasons for concern:

  • Preschool-age Hispanic children are four times more likely to be obese compared to non-Hispanic white children. These children are more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes as young adults.
  • Hispanic youths have higher smoking rates—28 percent of Hispanic eighth graders smoke compared to 23.7 percent of non-Hispanic white children. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States.
  • Roughly two out of three Hispanics have uncontrolled high blood pressure, often called the “silent killer.” Left untreated, it can cause serious damage to the arteries, heart and other organs.
  • Hispanics are twice more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Left untreated, Type 2 diabetes can cause serious problems, including cardiovascular and life-threatening kidney disease. Where you find diabetes in Hispanics, you will find heart disease.
  • Mexican-Americans are more likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack compared to non-Hispanic whites. And they’re twice as likely to have an ischemic stroke (caused by narrowed arteries) before 60 compared to non-Hispanic whites.

Sanchez urges people to start getting healthy with Life’s Simple 7 (in English or Spanish), which outlines seven important behaviors and factors that can improve heart health, and cultural competency for health care providers and researchers.

“We must do this for the young and the old—the abuelitas and abuelitos, the preschoolers and everyone in-between,” he states in the article “Only then can we help keep them healthy for many more years to come.”

Spanish Infographic: How Changing Communities Can Get People Moving


Check out this new Spanish infographic that shows how communities are succeeding at creating healthy environments.

The infographic, from our friends at Active Living Research, highlights several studies which evaluated changes in physical activity after the implementation of built environment and programmatic modifications in different cities. For example, children are more likely to walk or bike to school when there are quality streets and crosswalks, and programs that promote safety; existence of bike lanes is related to higher rates of cycling; and the presence of recreational facilities close to home encourages more physical activity.

These types of changes are especially important Latino kids, 39% of whom are either overweight or obese and who struggle with access to parks and poor street-scale design.

And that’s why we’re glad to see infographics like these, to help Spanish speakers better understand the importance of improving the built environment.

alr infographic

Latino Researchers among Recipients of $8 Million in Grants for Cancer Research


Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez

Several Latino researchers were among those awarded $7.6 million to prevent cancer this week at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, thanks to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the Health Science Center, the team behind SaludToday, was awarded a $1.4 million grant.

Ramirez will develop bilingual, culturally appropriate social and mobile messages and channels to recruit young adult Latino smokers to sign up for a text-message-based tobacco cessation service.

“Smoking is a problem among young adult Latinos in South Texas, but there are no culturally relevant programs that utilize Latinos’ heavy usage of social media and texting to help them quit,” Ramirez said. “If our project goes as planned, it will increase young adult Latinos’ use of tobacco cessation services, and provide a model service that can be cost-effectively replicated across Texas.”

Two other IHPR researchers, Dr. Daisy Morales-Campos and Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, received a $150,000 grant.

Their project will increase HPV immunization rates using public education and clinic in-reach strategies among young Hispanic males and females in Hidalgo County clinics.

“This program has the potential to reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality among Hispanic women in Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley,” Morales-Campos said.

Also, Dr. Ricardo Aguiar, associate professor of medicine and biochemistry at the Health Science Center, got a $854,740 grant focused on “Inactivating Mutation of D2HGDH Establishes a Novel Link Between Metabolism, Alpha-KG Dependent Dioxygenases and Epigenetic Reprogramming in B Cell Lymphoma.”

Check out a San Antonio Business Journal report on the new grants.

Three-Time Cancer Survivor Brings Message of Hope, Prevention to Latinos

Alma Deneshi

Alma Daneshi

Alma Daneshi cried as she sat in her San Diego-area oncologist’s office, traumatized by past-and-present health battles that continued to endanger her life.

She had been through a brain aneurism and open-brain surgery.

Then breast cancer.

Then breast cancer again, followed by cervical cancer.

She had lost her job managing a TGI Fridays restaurant while recovering from the aneurism and taking time off for cancer treatment. She got evicted and worried how she would care for herself and her then 12-year-old daughter.

Then she learned she contracted viral meningitis during treatment.

Daneshi, sitting beside her oncologist, broke down and wept.

But then she got some life-changing advice.

“My oncologist let me cry for a bit before she said, ‘Instead of crying, put your anger and sadness into something positive,’” Daneshi said. “She was on the board of directors for the American Cancer Society (ACS), and she told me I can get involved as a volunteer.”

Daneshi, now cancer-free four years later, is a volunteer extraordinaire.

For ACS’s San Diego region, she speaks at health fairs, answers a cancer hotline, helps organize cancer awareness fundraisers, hosts a cancer support group for Spanish speakers, and counsels Latinos on health insurance.

Daneshi is also involved with the cancer awareness activities of Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute. Redes has four offices—one in San Diego—and a headquarters at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

She just won an ACS “spirit” award for her work with local Hispanics.

“I tell people help is available and prevention is possible,” Daneshi said. “It saves lives if people get preventive health exams.”

Daneshi is invaluable to ACS, Redes, and the entire San Diego community, said Dr. Sheila Castañeda of San Diego State University and Redes.

“Alma is the epitome of a true cancer survivor,” Castañeda said. “She has a superb ability to take her own struggles and victories to inform and inspire Hispanics across the region to prevent cancer. She’s amazing.”

For more on Daneshi, read her full story or a detailed Q&A.

Tweetchat 8/26/14: School’s Back. How Can Kids Stay Active?


girl in a seesawLatino kids have limited access to out-of-class programs to boost physical activity, which contributes to their higher obesity rates, research shows.

What can be done?

Learn about and share new out-of-school fitness research, resources, and programs for Latino kids at the #GrowingHealthyChange Tweetchat, “Active Play & Latino Kids” at noon CST (1 p.m. EDT) Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, with co-hosts SaludToday, YMCA, and Active Living Research.

Follow the Tweetchat on Twitter (via @SaludToday, @AL_Research, and @YMCA) to learn more about reducing barriers to active play, increasing access to physical activity before & after school, policies and programs that work to increase physical activity. And share your own resources, ideas and success stories of what works in bringing active play to Latino communities:

  • DATE: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
  • TIME: Noon CST (1:00 PM EDT)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #GrowingHealthyChange
  • WHO: @SaludToday, @YMCA, @AL_Research, and YOU!

Use the hashtag #GrowingHealthyChange to participate.

The chat is organized by Salud America!, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national network to reduce Latino childhood obesity. The network is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.

Spanish Video: Be Climate Smart with Cool Foods


Did you know you can help fight climate change by changing what you eat every day?

Watch “Be Climate Smart with Cool Foods” in Spanish or English to learn how you can support a food system that is healthy for you and the climate.

The video, from the Center for Food Safety, showcases five simple tips for eating climate-smart:

1. Grow and Eat Organic
2. Eat Less Meat, Choose 100% Grass-Fed Meat and Dairy
3. Eat Fresh, Unprocessed Foods
4. Buy Local and in-Season
5. Compost and Reduce Food Waste

For more, check out the Cool Foods Campaign.

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