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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.


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Articles by Cliff Despres

#SaludTues Tweetchat 8/15: Elevate Early Childhood Development


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Nearly 85% of brain development happens before age 4. But Latino children are at risk of not getting the proper care and services they need during their formative first three years of life, creating educational achievement gaps. How can we bridge these gaps? Early care providers and early childhood development programs have the power to connect families to services and resources to improve Latino and all kids’ school readiness and promote healthy development and wellbeing. Let’s use #SaludTues on Aug. 15, 2017, to tweet about how we can elevate the conversation around early childhood development. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Elevate Early Childhood Development” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. EST Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: ...

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The Growth of the Latino Population is Slowing Down


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While still on the rise, the annual growth rate of the U.S. Latino population has dropped from 3.7% in 2006 to 2% in 2017, according to new stats from Pew Research Center. U.S. Asians now account for the highest growth rate (3% in 2017). The black population rose slightly (0.9), while whites slightly decreased. Why the leveling off of Latino population growth? "Following a Hispanic population boom in the 1990s that was driven by immigration and high fertility rates, the Hispanic population’s annual growth rate peaked at 4.2% in 2001," according to Pew's Jens Manuel Krogstad. "It then started to decline as fertility rates fell and immigration slowed, a trend that accelerated during the Great Recession." But that doesn't mean the Latino population is in decline. Rather, ...

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What’s Your Big Idea for Healthy Kids?


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What is the one thing you want most for kids? Salud America! can customize an "Action Pack” just for you to help you build a case and get supporters for your big idea for a healthy change, whether it’s water bottle fountains, brain breaks, shared use, bullying policies, etc. Action Packs can include: Custom emails to school/district leaders Custom webpage to build supporters Custom data and graphics for social media Custom fact sheets, FAQs and PPTs Request your customized Action Pack now! Michaeli Smith, the wellness coordinator at Comal ISD in Texas, had a big idea for more water bottle fountains in schools. Water bottle fountains, compared to traditional water fountains, help improve students' access to water in schools be enabling them to easily fill ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 8/1/17: Water vs. Sugary Drinks


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Latino kids consume more sugary drinks than their peers at all ages, which contributes to their high obesity rates, research shows. And they drink less water, too. Water consumption can decrease sugary drink intake, prevent cavities, and reduce risk of dehydration and its effect on fatigue and brain functioning. Let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, to tweet how to increase access to water for Latino and all kids, and celebrate the #SaludWater campaign! WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Water vs. Sugary Drinks” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludToday CO-HOST: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (@CSPI), Public Health Advocates (@WeArePHA), Kick the Can ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 7/18: You’re the Mom!


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Busy schedules and the convenience of fast food make it hard for families to eat healthy. This is especially true for Latino and African American communities where fast food tends to be more abundant and access to grocery stores is limited. Moms have the power to make a change! Let's use #SaludTues on July 18, 2017, to tweet about empowering moms to make healthy food choices for their family, including the awesome digital tools that are part of the "You’re the Mom" campaign! WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “You’re the Mom: Making Meals Healthy & Fun for Kids” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (12-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, July 18, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludToday CO-HOSTS: ...

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Tell FDA: Save Menu Labeling (Again)!


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You helped save menu labeling—for now! Supporters of Salud America!, our national Latino child health promotion program at UT Health San Antonio, submitted 10% of the 1,126 comments the FDA received about their one-year delay for restaurants to add menu labeling. FDA is listening to your comments! FDA wants more feedback on their delay of menu labeling—this week they extended the public comment deadline from July 3 to Aug. 2, 2017. Here’s how to submit a public comment right now: 1. Copy the model comment below. This comment was adapted from the Center for Science in the Public Interest by Salud America!. For the health of Latino and all families, I strongly support immediate implementation of menu labeling in chain restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, ...

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Sad Irony: Farmworkers Less Likely to Use Food Benefits


Latino farm boy in poverty and food insecurity

Farmworkers labor and toil long hours to put food on people's tables. But, in a cruel twist, many aren't accessing the food benefits they need—and are eligible for—to feed their own families, according to a new study. In fact, farmworkers who were Latino immigrants or even Latino citizens were 30% less likely to participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), compared to non-Latino white citizen farmworkers with the same need and eligibility, according to research led by UC Davis health economists. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, aims to reduce hunger and stimulate spending. "The study undercuts the common assumption that immigrant crop workers, especially Hispanic crop workers, utilize SNAP more than others," according to a press release. ...

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Study: Young Latinos, Not Immigrants, Face Most Discrimination



Young Latino men born in the U.S. reported experiencing high levels of discrimination, according to a new study. Penn State researchers examined reported discrimination among 1,275 Latinos and 500 whites in Los Angeles County. They found the highest reporters of discrimination in both interpersonal and institutional contexts were young, U.S.-born Latino men, according to a news release. Surprisingly, both undocumented and documented Latino immigrants and older U.S.-born Latinos reported lower levels of discrimination. 'What ends up happening to young, U.S.-born Latinos is that they have higher expectations for inclusion than other Latino groups and greater awareness of unfair treatment and blocked opportunities," said Nancy Landale, professor of sociology and demography at ...

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How a Short Task in Middle School Puts Latinos on a Path to College


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A simple assignment has the power to sharply increase Latino middle-schoolers' chances of getting to college, researchers have found. The assignment? Write essays about your core values and why they are important to you. For the past few years, Stanford University-led researchers followed 81 Latino, 158 black, and control students in middle schools who wrote these types of essays—which can provide "self-affirmation," reinforce adequacy, and add resilience, John Timmer reports in Ars Tecnica. Researchers then compared these essay writers to other students who wrote on neutral topics, like their afternoon routine. For Latinos, the self-affirmation essay writers cut their risk in half of ending up on the remedial track, and they were more than twice as likely to end up ...

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6 Easy Ways Latino Families Can Get Healthier Mouths


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Salud America! Guest Blogger Jefferson Dental Care Let's "face" it—the mouth is a good place to start helping your family develop healthy oral and general health habits. The mouth is not disconnected from our body. It affects us physically and psychologically. It shapes how we look, speak, chew, taste food and enjoy life. Studies have shown that poor oral health is linked to major health issues like cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections and diabetic complications. This is especially true for Latinos. 6 Big Tips for Better Oral Health To reduce the effects of poor oral health on your general health, there are several easy steps that you and your family can do proactively today. These quick habits adopted as a family, can improve well-being, as well as ...

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