About the Author

Author Picture

Cliff Despres

Cliff Despres, who has more than a decade of experience in journalism and public relations, is communications director for Salud America! and its home base, the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio.


Connect with Cliff:
Twitter Link

Articles by Cliff Despres

Report: With Obesity at All-Time High, Latinos Fare Worst


obese people in street

U.S. obesity has reached an all-time high, with overall adult obesity rates surpassing 40% and childhood obesity rates surpassing 20%, according to new CDC data. The news is especially bad for Latinos. Latino adults were more obese (47%) than their black (46.8%), white (37.9%), and Asian (12.7%) peers. Latino children also were more obese (25.8%) than their black (22%), white (14.1%), and Asian (11%) peers. It means 1 in 4 Latino are now obese, regardless of age, according to the new data. “We know the basics of supply and demand help people eat healthier and move more,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association, in a statement. “It will take a massive push from the food and beverage industry to increase the ...

Read More

New Video: How Latino Parents Can Deal with Bullying


latina girl from bullying video

As if Latino immigrant parents didn’t face enough worry—hostile political climate, wage gaps, lack of access to health care—a new “stressor” is on the rise. Bullying of immigrant children is, sadly, common these days. More than 50 incidents of white students using politics to bully Latino and other minority children have been reported in 26 states, BuzzFeed reports. Feeling a need to help, the nonprofit Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors has released a bilingual video to show Latino immigrant parents how to help their children who are victims of bullying. “At the start of the year, we were inundated with calls from concerned parents who were desperate for information on … how to keep their families safe,” said Sandra Gutierrez, founder and national director for ...

Read More

The Key to a Healthy Life Is Right Under Your Nose


Boy taking toothpaste

Salud America! Guest Blogger Jefferson Dental Care The key to a long, healthy life isn’t fame or fortune. It's right under your nose...it's your mouth! Poor dental health—cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease—are a big problem for many Latinos ages 65 and older. In fact, Latino seniors have among the highest rates of no remaining teeth (25%) and untreated tooth decay (40%). And that's not all. Mouth in Bad Health = Body in Bad Health Poor dental health isn't just bad for your teeth as you age. Dental issues are linked to diabetes, cancers and heart disease, which are each more prevalent among Latinos than the overall population. Inflammation in the body also translates in the mouth, and Latino seniors who suffer from diabetes are also likely to heal less rapidly ...

Read More

#SaludTues Tweetchat 10/10: Latino Kids & Bullying


boy sad depressed bully bullying school playground sit

Did you know 17.2% of Latino students report being bullied at school? Latino and children who are bullied report frequent worries, sadness, and fearfulness. Race-related bullying has negative emotional and physical health effects. Latino parents even list bullying as their No. 1 child health concern, according to the recent National Poll on Children’s Health. How can we help? Let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, to tweet how to stop bullying, create innovative bullying prevention programs in schools and communities, build better minds for Latino kids, and celebrate National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month in October! WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: Latino Kids and the Crisis of Bullying TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 ...

Read More

Get Water Bottle Fountains at Your School!


SaludWater water bottle filling praxina guerra school

Classic water fountains aren't always accessible or safe for kids. Water Bottle Fountains are filtered water dispensers for easily filling and refilling water bottles. This gives kids much-needed access to safe drinking water throughout the school day. They help keep kids hydrated while saving families money from buying bottled water. They also help the environment by reducing waste. Salud America! wants to help you get Water Bottle Fountains at your school with our custom-for-you Water Bottle Fountain Action Pack with Coaching! Request an Action Pack to get (at no charge to you): Customized, click-to-send emails, graphics and resources One-on-one support from an Action Pack Coach Ads on Facebook Promotion of your efforts to 100,000+ change-makers 25 Salud ...

Read More

The Unsettling State of Latino Childhood Obesity


Latino toddler kid with sugury drink obesity

Recent reports have shown a leveling off in childhood obesity rates. But, for Latino kids, the crisis of obesity is continuing at significantly higher rates than among their peers, according to new data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Trust for America’s Health, and the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. Across the nation, Latino kids ages 10-17 were more overweight or obese (39.9%) than their black (38.2%) and white (26.3%) peers. “Children as young as 11 from socially and economically disadvantaged families and neighborhoods appear more likely to have thicker carotid artery walls, which in adults may indicate higher risk for heart attack and stroke in later life," said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO, in a recent statement. "Elected ...

Read More

How Hispanic Heritage Month Became a Thing


latino kid mariachis

At Salud America!, we're excited to discuss Latino health during Hispanic Heritage Month! This annual U.S. observance, from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. How did this observance start? U.S. Rep. Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles introduced legislation on the topic. President Lyndon Johnson implemented the observance as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. U.S. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of Pico Rivera proposed the observance be expanded to cover its current 30-day period. President Ronald Reagan implemented the expansion. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. Why is the date of this observance important? Sept. 15 is significant ...

Read More

The Science of Digital Content Curation at Salud America!


mobile social media tablet communication

The Internet is crazy huge. So, how can health communicators reach the right people with the right health messages? At Salud America!, we use "digital content curation" to raise awareness of the particular health issues that disproportionately burden Latino children and families, as well as promote solutions and build people's capacity to change these issues. "We want to help people understand Latino health issues and solutions, and inspire people to drive healthy community change for Latino and all kids," said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America!, based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio. Check out our new scientific article that explains how we "curate." Our approach to digital content curation Digital content curation is ...

Read More

Mental Health Research: Policies with Promise


Primary school kids eating at a table in school cafeteria

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Policies are lacking on mental health and Latino kids In addition to the evaluation of programs and interventions dedicated to the improvement of mental health among Latino youth, there is a need for Latino-specific mental health policies at the local, state, and federal levels. Current healthcare policy has been focused primarily on reorganization of the healthcare system and payment reform without much consideration of the factors outside of medicine that affect health. Latino mental and physical health are influenced by many factors, including neighborhood characteristics, employment, social policies, culture, and beliefs about health; the implementation of health impact assessments that evaluate the ...

Read More