Survey: Kids’ Healthy Habits Decline During Summer; Latino Parents Most Concerned

Latino kid remote TVThis summer, many kids will spend many sunny days indoors staring at a screen, getting little exercise and reaching for lots of sugary drinks, according to the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot survey of 1,200 parents, reports.

Here are some key findings:

  • About 64% of parents said their kids spend three or more hours a day online, playing video games or watching TV during the summer. That’s 30% more screen time than during the school year.
  • While produce consumption rises during the summer months, many kids still don’t eat the recommended amount of vegetables.
  • Only 26% of kids spend more than an hour each day reading a book for fun during the summer.
  • About 75% of kids consume sugary drinks at least weekly during the summer, and 25% of kids average one or more sugary drinks a day or nearly daily.

Latino and black parents were far more concerned than white parents about ensuring their kids eat healthy foods during the summer (47% vs. 32%) and preventing learning loss (46% vs. 33%).

To give parents help and raise awareness of the “summer slide,” YMCA will launch a national campaign, Hop the Gap, with a kick off on Healthy Kids Day on April 25.

“Our job is to help families recognize they have the power to keep their kids healthy and ready to learn by keeping them focused, encouraging them to eat healthy, exercise and trading their tablets for books,” said Dr. Sandra G. Hassink, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Find more resources on healthy lifestyles here.


Study: Latinos More Likely to Intervene for Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, But Issues Remain

nomas-stats-dv-1 (1)Sexual assault and domestic violence are prevalent among Latinos, but Latinos also are more likely than the general population to intervene for victims and help prevent these issues, according to a new study.

The NO MÁS study, the largest study to date of domestic violence and sexual assault among U.S. Latinos, was released April 21, 2015, by Avon Foundation for Women for Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network and NO MORE.

The study highlights top barriers preventing Latino survivors from seeking help and the steps Latino men and women are already taking to address these issues:

  • More than half of the Latinos (56%) in the U.S. know a victim of domestic violence. About 28% know a victim of sexual assault.
  • 41% of Latinos believe that fear of deportation is the top barrier preventing Latino victims from seeking help, followed by fear of more violence for themselves and their families (39%) and fear of children being taken away (39%).
  • Lack of respect for the opposite sex was seen as a stronger driver of domestic violence and sexual assault than traditional gender roles.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Latinos who knew a victim of domestic violence (61%) and sexual assault (60%) say that they intervened and did something for the victim.

In addition to being more likely to intervene, more Latino parents than general-population parents talk to their children about domestic violence and sexual assault.

“This ground-breaking study demonstrates that sexual assault and domestic violence are prevalent issues in the Latino community, which too often faces a number of barriers the general population does not experience,” said Juan Carlos Areán of the National Latin@ Network. “However, the NO MÁS study also reveals the community’s enormous strength and willingness to put an end to these problems. The study, thus, represents not only the issues we face, but also the fortitude we can leverage to eliminate violence.”

The study will inform the fall 2015 launch of NO MÁS, a national awareness campaign engaging Latinos to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

For more information, go here.

4 Easy Ways Latino Parents Can Help Tackle Obesity in Kids

Hispanic Family Taking Dog For Walk In CountrysideLatinos are more likely to gain weight in childhood, studies show.

Thus it is critical to start early in teaching children and families to eat healthy and be physically active, according to a new editorial by Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association.

The editorial cites statistics on the unfortunate rise of Latino childhood obesity, including research by Salud America!, a research network funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and directed by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Sanchez suggests four ways to help reverse the trend:

Eat healthier. Teach children and their families how to cook our traditional recipes in the healthiest way. Get rid of extra weight to reduce the burden on the heart, lungs, blood vessels and skeleton. “When we give ourselves the gift of active living, we improve our health and feel better, too,” Sanchez said.

Learn more and check out Dr. Amelie Ramirez’s bilingual cookbook.

Get moving together. Engage in traditional, simple and fun activities like dancing, playing soccer or baseball. “The American Heart Association recommends kids and teens participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day,” Sanchez said.

Learn more.

Set limits on screen time, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and an increase in snacking.

Learn more.

Take care of yourselves, parents. Sanchez urges parents to use Life’s Simple 7 resources in English and Spanish to improve heart health: managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, getting active, eating healthier, losing weight and quitting smoking.

“Our children are our future,” Sanchez said. “Let’s make sure we give them our best and show them what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Let’s continue to strengthen our families.”

Latino Kids Experience 2x More Tooth Decay

dental healthSaludToday Guest Blogger
Jefferson Dental Clinics

Did you know Latino kids have more cavities than other kids?

Latino kids experience tooth decay at higher rates and are twice as likely as their White and African American peers to experience untreated tooth decay, the nation’s top chronic childhood illness, research indicates.

“Our Latino youth are experiencing disproportionate levels of dental cavities,” says Dr. Leslie Renee Townsend, regional director of Texas-based Jefferson Dental Clinics. “It is clear that is time to intervene on advancing oral health initiatives aimed at creating good dental health habits from an early age.”

The issue is more dire than cavities alone.

Tooth decay in children has been correlated to problems with eating, difficulties with speech and articulation, difficulty concentrating and completing school work, headaches and even lowered self-esteem—dental problems that lead to an estimated 51 million missed school hours a year among kids.

“Every stage of a child’s development is important for dental care. We are now seeing infant tooth decay on the rise, as well as older children with more dental cavities,” Townsend said. “It is important for parents and caregivers to remember that early care and prevention is a first step at preparing a child for a lifetime of good oral health.”

What can be done? Here are some tips from Jefferson Dental Clinics:

Take care of baby teeth. Primary (baby) teeth are the basis for growing healthy permanent teeth in adulthood. Establishing a thorough oral health routine that includes brushing and flossing twice daily, and two regular dental visits each year are vital to maintaining healthy mouths. A child should visit a dentist by his or her first birthday.

Dental sealants. Sealants are a protective coating that can be applied to children’s teeth, especially hard-to-reach back molars, to help reduce the risk of cavities. This treatment is particularly ideal for children learning to brush.

Healthy food. Eating right is key to both overall health and healthy teeth and gums. Flossing should become a regular habit, especially after consuming meats and fibrous vegetables.

“Overall, it is important that families treat oral hygiene as a family-wide habit; great smiles should run in the family,” Townsend said. “Preventing tooth decay is a first step at combating the dental health crisis, and improving health outcomes for young Latinos.”

#SaludTues Tweetchat 4/21/15: Eliminating Latino Health Disparities During the Early Years

SONY DSCBuilding a healthy foundation during the early years is important for all children. Yet research shows that Latino kids continue to suffer from higher rates of obesity compared to children of other race/ethnicities.

So where does the problem begin and how do we tackle it at its root?

Between the ages of 0-5 years is when a child reaches key milestones in their physical, social and emotional development. Therefore, efforts to create a safe and healthy environment for children must start as early as possible.

This Tuesday on National Kindergarten day, join us for a #SaludTues Tweetchat to talk about ways to give our children hope for the future. By working to ensure that all children enter kindergarten at a healthy weight, we can improve their chances of staying healthy later on in life.

Follow this week’s Tweetchat on Twitter (via @SaludToday, @KidsHealth, @MomsRising) to learn ways to help kids enter primary school with good health.

You’ll hear from Kids Health, Moms Rising and Salud America! about what we can do to address issues such as health, safety, stress, poverty and education in underserved communities. You’ll also have the opportunity to share your ideas, resources, stories and examples of ways to work towards a healthier environment for kids 0-5 years in age.

  • WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Eliminating Latino Health Disparities During the Early Years”
  • DATE: Tuesday, April, 21, 2015
  • TIME: Noon CST (1:00 PM ET)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
  • HOST: @SaludToday
  • CO-HOSTS: @KidsHealth @MomsRising

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

  • Why the early years are so important for the health of Latino children.
  • Some of the challenges associated with the health of pre-school aged children.
  • How we can help shape a healthier school environment for Latino kids in childcare settings.
  • How we can work towards building a culture of health for kids 0-5 years.
  • What’s working to create a healthier school environment for Latino kids.

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter, share your stories and share resources that can help improve Latino health and fitness.

#SaludTues is a 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 is the team behind Redes En Acción: The National Latino Cancer Research Network, funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Making Awesome Changes: Teen Gets Healthy Breakfast Cart at School

breakfast cartA nutritious breakfast is important for on-the-go kids.

Michaelie Love, a junior at Lee High School in San Antonio, found few of her peers ate breakfast, so she helped bring a breakfast cart with fast, low-fat, low-sugar, and whole-grain options at her school.

Love’s efforts are now featured in the new “Making Awesome Changes” TV series, which partners KSAT-TV and Salud America! to feature Salud Heroes—people and groups who are pushing for healthy changes—on the evening news.

Salud America! is a Latino childhood obesity research network supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and directed by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

making awesome changesPast “Making Awesome Changes” stories include:

Michelle Love, meanwhile, hopes more of her peers now eat a healthy breakfast.

“The morning, it’s time for you to hang out with your friends before you have to go into class, so you don’t want to have to spend time in the cafeteria,” Love said.

Stay tuned for more stories from Salud America! and KSAT-TV!

Tell Taco Bell: Quit Pushing Sugary Drinks

revised main photo small - blogOne word can describe Taco Bell’s drink lineup: Sugary.

Taco Bell recently added six new sugary drinks and became the first fast-food giant to offer Manzanita Sol, an apple-flavored soda most popular in Mexico, a nod to its Latin-inspired cuisine.

Manzanita Sol packs a whopping 56 grams of sugar in a 16-ounce drink, and four of the six new drinks contain more than 20 grams of sugar in the chain’s smallest available size.

Tell Taco Bell to stop offering Manzanita Sol and other sugary drinks to customers!

Latino kids don’t need more sugar-bombs disguised as thirst-quenchers, they already drink more sugary drinks per day than their white peers and have higher rates of obesity.

Taco Bell continues to launch new unhealthy beverages, including new flavors of sugar-filled slushy drinks called Freezes. The company promotes Freezes aggressively on Facebook and Instagram, and research shows Latinos use these channels more than other populations.

The two newest Freezes, Starburst and Snapple Lemonade, each pack more than 45 grams of sugar in a 16-ounce serving.

Tell Taco Bell to stop adding sugary drinks, and instead add a healthy option like no- or low-fat milk!

This campaign is directed by Salud America!, a Latino childhood obesity network funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Report: Access to Health Care is Improving for Hispanics, but More Work Remains

hpv psa redesAccess to health care after the Affordable Care Act is improving among all racial/ethnic groups, especially Hispanics, but more work remains, according to a new report.

According to the report, the 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report, the nation’s rate of uninsured people has declined. The decline was greater among Hispanics and blacks, who historically have had higher rates of unsiuninsurance rates compared with whites.

For Hispanics, the rate of those uninsured dropped from 40.3% to 33.2%, and for blacks dropped from 24.6% to 15.9%.

“These findings indicate that the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces is making health insurance available to millions of Americans who might otherwise have been uninsured,” said AHRQ Director Dr. Richard Kronick in a news release.

The report, which features annual trends on more than 250 measures of quality, access and disparities covering a broad array of health care services and settings, also found that disparities among racial groups for certain health services have been reduced to zero.

For example, Hispanic adults with obesity received nutrition counseling and advice to eat fewer high-fat foods at similar rates as other adults with obesity, compared to 2004 when 41% of Hispanic adults and 50% of white adults received counseling.

However, compared with whites, blacks and Hispanics still had lower access to care for about half of the access measures tracked in the report, which include encountering difficulties or delays in receiving care.

To read the full report, click here.

To read a news release, click here.

#SaludTues Tweetchat 4/14/15: Latinos and Alcohol Awareness and Prevention

Happy cheerful group of friendsLatinos are less likely to drink alcohol at all than non-Latinos.

That’s the good news.

The bad news?

Latinos who choose to drink are more likely to consume higher volumes of alcohol than non-Latinos, and about 8.3% of Latinos needed treatment for alcohol problems in the past year, federal statistics show.

For Alcohol Awareness Month (April), let’s use #SaludTues on April 14, 2015, to tweet information, resources, and tips that can help reduce alcohol abuse among Latinos:

  • WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Alcohol Awareness and Latinos”
  • DATE: Tuesday, April 14, 2015
  • TIME: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT)
  • WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues
  • HOST: @SaludToday
  • CO-HOSTS: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (@NCADDnational), Institute for Research, Education, and Training in Addiction (@IRETApgh)

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

  • The state of Latino alcohol consumption and binge drinking
  • What elements, such as acculturation, impact Latino alcohol consumption
  • The consequences of alcohol abuse
  • Resources to get help for alcohol issues, and help Latino parents talk to teens about drinking

Be sure to use the hashtag #SaludTues to follow the conversation on Twitter and share your strategies, stories, and resources that can make Latinos aware of the problems of alcohol.

#SaludTues is a 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 Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

32% of Hispanic Teens go Online ‘Almost Constantly’

texting - Copy (2)About 90% of U.S. teens go online daily and 32% of Latino teens go online “almost constantly,” a higher rate that white teens (19%) and comparable to black teens (34%), according to a new Pew Research report.

Much of this frenzy of access is facilitated by mobile devices.

Overall, more than 70% of Latino, black, and white teens ages 13-17 have access to a smartphone, which has become a top driver of teen Internet, texting, and social media use.

Patterns of social media use seem to be affected by socioeconomic status, as teens from lesser-income households (those earning less than $50,000) are more likely than others to say they use Facebook the most. Teens from high-higher households are somewhat more likely to visit Snapchat and Twitter more often than those from lesser-income homes.

Texting remains popular among teens, as 90% of smartphone-accessing teens exchange texts. A typical teen sends and receives 30 texts a day, and many use messaging apps. In fact, Latino (46%) and black teens (47%) with phones are substantially more likely to use messaging apps than white teens (24%).

View the full report here.

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