3 Reasons Why Latinos Struggle More with Eating Disorders


New PictureObese Latinos struggle more than four times as much with binge eating disorder than the overall population, according to a post by The Bella Vita Eating Disorder Program.

Why is binge eating a problem for Latinos?

Dr. Patricia Pitts, founder and CEO of The Bella Vita, mentions three reasons:

  1. Acculturation (the adjustment to a new culture). “The negative effects of acculturation to American culture on diet and substance use are emerging in the research. Acculturation also carries health risks for both obesity, type two diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”
  2. Income. “Low-income individuals must deal with barriers to affordable, quality fruits and vegetables, walking or exercising in unsafe neighborhoods, and finding the time to engage in healthy eating habits while struggling daily to make ends meet. In addition, food-insecure individuals may engage in a pattern of restricting food intake when food is scarce and engaging in overeating when food becomes available again, a pattern that increases the likelihood of obesity.”
  3. Racism/discrimination. “Racism is a chronic exposure to stress that creates both physical changes in the body and a need to find a way to cope with the stress. The daily oppression and discrimination faced by people of color has tentatively been linked to higher body mass index (BMI) and obesity in some newer studies.”

The Bella Vita is driving awareness of and collaboration to solve Latino eating disorders with a campaign called Eating Disorders Includes Me (#EDIncludesMe).

The have a new video about “Maria” that emphasizes the importance for the Latino community to identify the sign and symptoms of mental illness and eating disorders while bringing awareness to the need to seek treatment.

“As a community, we must recognize the health risk vulnerability of obesity, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle within the Latino/a community,” Dr. Pitts said in her post. “Addressing concerns such as acculturation, income and racism will help encourage Latinos/as to embrace treatment. Also, it is important to identify eating disorders behaviors which manage deeper underlying mental health concerns.”

Get additional support for eating disorders from The Bella Vita, National Institute of Mental Health, or the National Eating Disorders Association in English or Spanish.


Study: 27% of Hispanics Report High Levels of Depressive Symptoms; Puerto Ricans Most Depressed

Photo via UC Davis Health System (http://bit.ly/1uz3uFG)

Photo via UC Davis Health System (http://bit.ly/1uz3uFG)

About 27% of US Hispanics reported high levels of depressive symptoms, according to a new study, Medical Express reports.

The study, part of the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), indicates that depression and anxiety rates differ widely among Hispanic groups.

The highest rates of depressive symptoms were reported by Puerto Ricans (38%).

The lowest rates were among Mexicans (22.3%).

“Our study has found that mental health problems differ among the various groups comprising this population, suggesting that healthcare workers should look more closely at subgroups of Hispanics and Latinos to deliver appropriate mental health services,” said lead author Dr. Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, co-principal investigator of HCHS/SOL at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, according to Medical Express.

The study also found that depression was more likely among Hispanics who were older, female, and/or suffering from heart disease risk factors (smoking, obesity, etc.).

Despite Hispanics’ high depression rates, the study found low rates of antidepressant use:

One of the study’s most compelling findings was the relatively low use of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications among Hispanics and Latinos. Overall, only 5 percent of the study sample used antidepressants, even though depression affected 27 percent of this population. Antidepressant usage varied widely according to insurance status: 8.2 percent of insured people used antidepressants vs. 1.8 percent of uninsured. (In contrast, 13.6 percent of non-Hispanic whites ages 12 and over take antidepressants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is a significant concern, as it suggests that depression and anxiety may not be adequately treated in the Hispanic/Latino community,” Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller said.

Tweet with #SaludTues on 10/21/14: “Healthier Recipes for Latino Foods”


In the Latino community, we love to share delicious home-cooked meals with our family and friends.

But sometimes it’s hard to plan a meal that’s both satisfying and healthy.

Do Latinos have to sacrifice bold traditional flavors to ensure their family has a well-balanced meal?SALUD_granddaughter_baking

Certainly not! With a little planning, openness, and creativity, Latinos can prepare tasty dishes the whole family will love.

Join us and our co-hosts as we tweet about healthy cooking and Latino foods at the next #SaludTues Tweetchat.

We’ll open the floor to your stories and experiences as we explore:

  • How can you make your favorite Hispanic dish healthier?
  • Which Latino foods actually fight disease and promote well-being?
  • What are ways to save money on healthy food at the grocery store?
  • Which Latino foods belong in every healthy kitchen?

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter, share your stories and resources that can help more Latino families begin cooking and eating healthier.

#SaludTues is a new weekly Tweetchat about Latino health at 12p CST/1p ET every Tuesday and hosted by @SaludToday, the Latino health social media campaign for the team at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.The IHPR directs several Latino health programs, including Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children, Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, and Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training.

Webinar 10/29/14: The State of Obesity and Health Disparities


bike kidYou’re invited to join a webinar exploring the current state of U.S. obesity and related health disparities, and the latest efforts to combat the problem.

Register here for the webinar at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014.

The webinar, hosted by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Voices for Healthy Kids, will discuss a summary, key findings, and the latest research on obesity’s toll related to health disparities from a recent report, The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America.

The report found that adult obesity rates increased in six states over the past year and did not decrease in any. Furthermore, significant geographic, income, racial, and ethnic disparities persist, with obesity rates highest in the South and among Blacks, Latinos, and lower-income, less-educated Americans.


  • Ginny Ehrlich, Director and Senior Program Officer, Childhood Obesity Team, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director, Trust for America’s Health
  • Amelie Ramirez, DrPH, Director, Salud America! (based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday)
  • Jill Birnbaum, Vice President, State Advocacy & Public Health, American Heart Association & Executive Director, Voices for Healthy Kids
  • Debbie Hornor, Senior Manager Field Consultation, Voices for Healthy Kids

Please direct inquiries to Tim Hughes at thughes@tfah.org.

How To Raise Awareness of HIV/AIDS in Latino Communities on NLAAD & Year Round

CDC Latino Fam

(Source: CDC, http://ow.ly/CRmq9)

HIV/AIDS is a growing issue in the Latino community that we should all be aware of.

Every year, 21% of new HIV/AIDS cases are diagnosed among Hispanics in the US.

If trends continue, according to the CDC, 1 in 36 Latino men and 1 in 106 Latina women will be infected with HIV at some point in their lifetime.

While these numbers are startling, HIV/AIDS is preventable, but Latinos need to know the facts about their risk and take measures to protect themselves.

There also needs to be candid conversations with family and loved ones as well as increased communication about this topic in the Latino community.

October 15th National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD)

How can we change the stigma that exists around HIV/AIDS and how can we inform more Latinos about ways to prevent infections?

Every year The Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA) works with partners across the country to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in the Latino community on October 15th.

This year’s theme is To End AIDS, Commit to Act – Para Acabar con el SIDA, Comprometete a Actuar

With multiple online resources and social media available at our fingertips, we can all play an important role in getting the word out to Latinos. We can tweet, post, and share pictures on social media to help spread the word about HIV/AIDS risk to Latinos on NLAAD and year round.

Do Latinos even use social media? According to the Pew Hispanic Center, yes!

Social Media Tools For HIV/AIDS Prevention Among LatinosAIDS.gov

To equip Latinos with the tools they need to get the word out, AIDS.gov has compiled a list of resources for NLAAD.

The resource page includes links to the NLAAD website, mobile apps from AIDS.gov, and information about campaigns like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time/Podemos Deterner el VIH Una Conversación a la Vez  and the REASONS/RAZONES campaign. 

You’ll also find information about groups you can follow on Twitter as well as pictures and infographics you can share on social media.

By using these resources you can be a part of the national fight against HIV/AIDS in Latinos.

Learn more and access the AIDS.gov NLAAD Resources page here.

If you missed our Tweechat with @AIDSgov, @NLAAD, and @talkHIV, on 10/14 see the recap here.

Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of having HIV/AIDS conversations with loved ones.


5 Facts about Low-Income Latino Families


latino familyUnderstanding the Latino family is vital as organizations work to improve the health of Latino kids, two-thirds of which live in low-income homes, NBC News reports.

That’s why a new report provides a snapshot of these families.

The report, by the National Research Center On Hispanic Children and Families, indicates that family structure looks vastly different depending on if parents were U.S.- or foreign-born, and most Latinos kids are born into two-parent households.

Here are five key facts from the report, highlighted by NBC News:

-Most births to low-income Hispanics occur in some type of co-residential union, especially among those who are foreign-born. Sixty seven percent of Latinas are either living with a partner or married when their first child is born.

-About half of low-income Latina women—both U.S.-born and foreign-born —report a birth by age 20.

-By age 20, well over half of low-income Hispanic U.S.-born or foreign-born women are either married or living with someone in a co-residential union.

-Low-income foreign-born Hispanics are more likely to be married than any other group. Thirty six percent of foreign-born women were married compared to 26 percent of U.S.-born; in men it was 35 to 24 percent.

-Only one-in-ten foreign-born Hispanic males report having children with more than one woman, compared to 30 percent of U.S.-born Hispanic males.

“As Latinos increasingly represent a larger segment of the country, these patterns provide important context and information for programs and services seeking to improve the wellbeing of low-income Hispanics,” according to a blog post about the report.

Report: Latinos Need 5.5M More College Degrees by 2020 to Get U.S. Back on Top of Education


latino-studentLatinos must earn an additional 5.5 million college degrees for America to regain world leadership in college degrees by 2020, according to a new report.

The report, from Excelencia in Education and the United Negro College Fund, examines Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) alongside historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to bring attention to minority student access.

While HBCUs and HSIs only represent 20% of all U.S. institutions, they educate nearly half of all black and Latino students, according to the brief.

“The combined growth of Latinos and blacks in our population, and in higher education overall, requires more intentional focus on institutions that serve them,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education.

A few key points of comparison between HSIs and HBCUs include:

  • 60% of undergraduate students at HSIs and HBCUs are Hispanic or black.
  • In 2012-2013, half of HBCUs (50%) and most HSIs (68%) were public institutions.
  • In 2012-2013, there were 277 emerging HSIs, defined as institutions with 15-24% undergraduate full-time Hispanic enrollment.

“By focusing on HSIs and HBCUs through the use of data, we can shed light on the institutions where Latinos and blacks are choosing to enroll,” Brown said. “Additionally, this information can serve as a base of information for public policy analyses and aid in the development of polices focused on educational success.”

Change is starting to build. Check out this Voxxi News story on how universities are pledging for the success of Latino studies.

Download the full report.

3 Ways Digital Marketers Push Junk Food to Latino Kids


CDDHispanicJunkFoodInfographic otherLatino youth are a prime target of junk food marketing because of their heavy consumption of digital media and use of mobile devices.

Check out this new infographic, from our friends at the Center for Digital Democracy, that explains some of the reasons for this large food marketing push in Latino youth, some of the ways they are targeted, and what effect this marketing has one them.

The infographic suggests these top ways that that food marketers use get access to Latino youth:

  1. Data mining
  2. Text-message and social-network infiltration
  3. Hispanic-specific content to gain access to Latino youth.

What can be done to improve the nutritional value of food/drink products marketed to Latinos?

Go here and find resources, stories, and videos of people and groups across the country who are working to solve the issue.

For example, check out this story of Latino student advocates in Omaha, Neb.

They recognized obesity’s pervasiveness in their high-school ranks and pushed for a novel “Green is Go” marketing campaign that simultaneously highlights healthy food options in school cafeterias and stigmatizes less healthy options. Not only did the students conceptualize this campaign, they worked with school and other officials to get it implemented in their cafeteria.

Find more here.

Here’s How to Help Fight Health Disparities in Your Area (& Get a Scholarship for It!)


gmap siteA regional health disparities research program has unveiled a new website, membership opportunity, and scholarships under the direction of Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.

Dr. Ramirez’ program is called GMaP Region 4.

It is one of six regional GMaPs (or Transdisciplinary Geographic Management Programs) funded by the National Cancer Institute to bring together local networks of investigators to collaboratively identify and address health disparities in regions across the country.

GMaP Region 4 is enhancing local communication, recruitment, and evaluation capacity to support health disparities research, training and outreach in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Wyoming, Utah and Nebraska.

Join the program to learn more and get involved.

Apply for these new scholarship opportunities:

“GMaP Region 4 is working hard to target our regional health disparities and increase the pipeline of researchers who are tackling those very disparities,” Ramirez said.

GMaP Region 4 was established in 2009 by the National Cancer Institute through Dr. Ramirez’ Latino cancer research program, Redes En Acción.

So far, Region 4 has established four subcommittees, identified regional theme areas for future research, and developed an implementation plan to chart the future course of research, training and infrastructure development in the region.

It also has completed a clinical trial education and outreach project that led to a manual, Clinical Trials Outreach for Latinos, to stimulate minority participation in clinical trials.

For more, go here.

Tweet with #SaludTues on 10/14/14: “Latinos and HIV/AIDS: Problems + Solutions”


Happy cheerful group of friendsEvery year, 21% of new HIV/AIDS cases are diagnosed among Hispanics in the US.

Let’s focus on changing this by using #SaludTues to tweet about innovative campaigns to improve prevention and programs to find solutions to HIV/AIDS in the Latino community:

  • WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Latinos and HIV/AIDS: Problems + Solutions”
  • DATE: Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014
  • TIME: Noon CST (1:00 PM ET)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
  • HOST: @SaludToday
  • CO-HOSTS: @NLAAD (National Latino AIDS Awareness Day), @AIDSgov (AIDS.gov), and @TalkHIV (CDC)

On Oct. 14, the eve of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, we’ll open the floor to your stories and experiences as we explore:

  • Why is HIV/AIDS such a big issue for Latinos?
  • What factors and challenges contribute to increases in HIV/AIDS in Latino communities?
  • What role does culture play in preventing HIV/AIDS prevention among Latinos?
  • How can HIV/AIDS be prevented in the Latino community?
  • What stories, resources, and tips are available for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS?

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter, share your stories and share resources that can help more Latinos stop HIV/AIDS.

#SaludTues is a weekly Tweetchat about Latino health at noon CST every Tuesday and hosted by @SaludToday, the Latino health social media campaign for the team at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. The IHPR is the team behind SaludToday and Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, funded by the National Cancer Institute. Learn more about the Tweetchats here.

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