Latino are less likely to receive the flu vaccine than other ethnic groups, a fact influenced by limited access to medical care, experts say, Saludify reports.
That’s why, for National Influenza Vaccination Week Dec. 8-14, 2013, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) is inviting Latinos ages 6 months and older to get vaccinated against the influenza.
Vaccination is the first and most important step to protect against flu, the CDC said.
The vaccine reduces one’s risk of illness, hospitalization, or even death and can prevent the spread of the virus to loved ones.
Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, retail stores and pharmacies, and health centers, as well as by many employers and schools.
U.S. Obesity leveled off since last year, the first time since 1998 that obesity rates have not worsened, according to the new United Health Foundation’s 2013 America’s Health Rankings, an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by state basis.
Here are the key nationwide health trends from last year to this year:
- Smoking rates dropped from 21.2% of the adult population to 19.6%.
- Physical inactivity dropped from 26.2% of the adult population to 22.9%.
- Obesity remained about the same, about 27% of the adult population.
At the state level, Hawaii has taken the title of healthiest state. The state scored well along most measures particularly for having low rates of uninsured individuals, high rates of childhood immunization, and low rates of obesity, smoking and preventable hospitalizations.
Vermont, last year’s reported No. 1 state, is ranked second this year and has ranked among the top five states for the last decade. Minnesota is third, followed by Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Mississippi ranks 50th this year, and Arkansas (49), Louisiana (48), Alabama (47) and West Virginia (46) complete the list of the five least healthy states.
“I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made this year and am hopeful that the leveling off we see in America’s obesity is a sign of further improvement to come,” said Dr. Reed Tuckson, external senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation, in a statement. “We should certainly celebrate these gains. They encourage us to continue to identify and effectively implement best practices in these areas and in addressing diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions that compromise Americans’ health and vitality.”
Go here to learn more about the rankings and its tools identify health opportunities in communities as well as multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary approaches to address those opportunities.
Read about the rankings in Spanish here.
Interested candidates can apply for the 2014 Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program from now to March 7, 2014.
Éxito!, a program of the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, will select 20 master’s-level students and health professionals from across the nation to attend a five-day summer institute June 2-6, 2014, in San Antonio, offering research information, tools, tips, role models and motivation to encourage participants to pursue a doctoral degree and a career studying how cancer affects Latinos differently.
Éxito! participants also are eligible to receive one of nine $5,000 internships.
Master’s-degree students or master’s-trained health professionals are encouraged to apply.
Since launching in 2011, Éxito! has had 59 participants—and 15 of the 16 of those who went on to apply for a doctoral program have been accepted and are currently enrolled.
“Éxito! was a boost of confidence and a tremendous encouragement for me to apply to doctoral programs, said Mariana Arevalo, a graduate of the 2011 Éxito! program, which is funded by the National Cancer Institute. “Now more than ever, I’m confident that Latino researchers are not only needed in our field, but we can make a difference in improving the health of Latinos.”
Find more participant testimonials and learn more about the program at www.exitotraining.org.
Hispanic mothers and fathers who were stressed saw the greatest impact on their children’s body mass index (BMI) compared to any other ethnicity in the new study, Voxxi reports.
The study, led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, found that kids with high-stress parents have a 2% higher BMI than kids with low-stress parents. Researchers speculated that stressed parents were less likely concerned with healthy food options and exercise.
According to the article:
Hispanic children, who made up more than half of the test subjects, were the most predominantly affected by the stress of their parents, a finding study authors feel may indicate Hispanic children are more likely to experience hypherphasia — excessive hunger or increased appetite — and a sedentary lifestyle…
…While much of this health disparity has been attributed to lack of access and knowledge regarding healthy foods, stressed parents may be another factor previously overlooked. Hispanics and other immigrant parents have challenges unique to them including language barriers and the stress of acculturation.
“Childhood is a time when we develop interconnected habits related to how we deal with stress, how we eat and how active we are,” Dr. Ketan Shankardass said in a statement on the St. Michael’s website. “It’s a time when we might be doing irreversible damage or damage that is very hard to change later.”
Check out this great video that aims to inform and inspire minority youth about how learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can build a career.
The video, “I Am A Scientist,” was developed by superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the Department of Education, The California Endowment, California Biotechnology Foundation and Lybba produced the film “I Am A Scientist”.
But these health inequalities are preventable.
A new tool, A Practitioner’s Guide for Advancing Health Equity, can help public health practitioners work at the community level to tackle health inequities through policy, systems, and environmental improvements designed to enhance tobacco-free living, healthy eating, and active living among the underserved.
The guide, from the Prevention Institute and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, has practical tips on how you can build change for health equity:
- Tips to help you and your colleagues build organizational capacity; develop partnerships; foster meaningful engagement; and design and evaluate equity-oriented strategies.
- Strategies, based in evidence and honed by practice, that are designed to reduce health disparities and create healthy communities for all.
- Information about potential barriers and unintended consequences that can hinder chronic disease prevention efforts.
- Examples of successful equity-oriented approaches to improving public health and reducing disparities, drawn from communities across the country.
The guide also has dozens of examples of successful changes in health equity.
For example, in Louisville, Ken., Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness implemented the Healthy Hometown Restaurant Initiative, designed to encourage restaurants to provide healthier options for their patrons. Outreach efforts led many restaurant owners throughout the city, including in low-income neighborhoods, to alter their menus and provide nutrition labeling information for their menus.
The following is a Nov. 20 guest blog by Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (the team behind SaludToday), for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
I recently had the privilege of attending and presenting my Susan G. Komen-funded research on boosting Latina breast cancer survivorship through Patient Navigation at the 5th International Cancer Control Congress (ICCC) on Nov. 3-6, 2013, in Lima, Peru.
As a member of Komen’s Scientific Advisory Board, I was excited to be among the more than 400 health researchers and community leaders from throughout the world came together for this important meeting. Dr. Simon Sutcliffe of Vancouver, Canada, president of the ICCC and chair of the international steering committee, cited five key drivers for the group:
- improving human development;
- mobilizing a societal response to reduce cancer and other non-communicable diseases;
- improving population health;
- improving cancer treatment, management and care; and
- ensuring effective transfer of knowledge into action at a population level.
Dr. Carissa Etienne of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) also brought up the need to target three challenges: how to apply our current knowledge to reduce cancer; how to reduce cancer disparities; and how to implement comprehensive health care coverage to improve health for all.
How do we answer this call?
At the global level, Komen has invested more than $800 million in research and currently funds more than 500 active research grants. Since Komen’s inception in 1982, $89 million has been dedicated to more than 250 research grants focusing on health disparities. Komen is the largest non-governmental funder of breast cancer research, and its efforts to invest in translation from the lab into treatment, early detection and prevention align well with the goals of the ICCC conference.
My own Komen-funded research is addressing the burden among Latino populations.
Given that breast cancer is the top cancer killer of U.S. Latinas, my team at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is testing ways to reduce the burden on this population. In one National Cancer Institute-funded study, researchers from our Redes En Acción project found that a culturally sensitive patient navigation program reduces time from cancer diagnosis to initial treatment and increases rates of treatment initiation within 30 and 60 days of diagnosis—resulting in lives saved.
In our Komen-funded “Staying Healthy” study, we’re testing how Latina breast cancer survivors in an enhanced patient navigation program go on to participate in screening and treatment plans, and how their quality of life is affected. Preliminary results show increased quality of life, indicating that the “Staying Healthy” program has the potential to be a global model of survivorship care.
At the conference, another research project that caught my attention was a study of women with metastatic breast cancer in three Latin American countries (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina) that showed two-thirds of women felt no one understood what they were going through, 41% said their support from family and friends diminished over time after the original diagnosis, and 74% would like professionals to have more consideration for their emotional needs. In addition, 76% stated they needed more information on the secondary effects and systems of this disease. This study was supported by Novartis oncology.
I was refreshed to not only hear and learn from studies like this one, but also present my Komen-funded research.
Having a role in conferences like this can grow relationships that have the potential to generate collaborations to eradicate breast cancer across the globe.
The study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research examined survey data to examine kids’ dietary behaviors and the impact of parents on food choices.
The study found that:
- 60% of all kids between the ages of 2 and 5 had eaten fast food at least once in the previous week.
- 29% of all kids had eaten fast food two or more times in the previous week.
- Only 57% of parents reporting that their child ate at least five fruit and vegetable servings the previous day.
- Latino and Asian parents say they have less influence over what their child eats than other groups.
“A weekly happy meal is an unhappy solution, especially for toddlers,” said Susan Holtby, the study’s lead author and a senior researcher at the Public Health Institute. “Hard-working, busy parents need support to make healthy food selections for their kids.”
Toddlers from low-income Hispanic, American Indian (AI), and Alaskan Native (AN) homes are at increased risk for obesity, according to a new study, Medscape reports.
The federal study, published in the journal Pediatrics, collected weight data for 1.2 million children at ages 0 to 23 months in 2008 and followed up with them within 24 to 35 months in 2010-11. In 2008, 13.3% of children were obese. In 2010-11, 36.5% of those children remained obese and 11% who were not obese at baseline became obese at follow-up.
The Medscape article also highlighted some striking disparities in children’s weight by race/ethnicity:
At baseline, obesity rates were higher among Hispanic and AI/AN toddlers, with 18.0% of AI/AN children obese at baseline compared with 15.3% of Hispanic children, 12.8% of non-Hispanic black children, 11.5% of white children, and 9.5 of Asian/Pacific Island children. In addition, Hispanic and AI/AN children were more likely to remain obese at follow-up at 40.3% and 44.4%,respectively, compared with 34.7% of whites, 33.2% of Asian/Pacific islanders, and 30.5% of non-Hispanic blacks.
AI/AN and Hispanic youngsters were more likely to become obese 24 to 35 months after initial examination. Some 15.4% of AI/AM children became obese at follow-up. Of Hispanic children, 13.6% became obese compared with 9.7% of white children, 9.0% of Asian/Pacific Island children, and 8.7% of black children.
“The needs of Hispanic and AI/AN young children should be considered when designing population-based strategies to support environmental and system change in communities and culturally appropriate interventions,” the the researchers stated in the study’s conclusion.