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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 5/9: Latino Kids and Healthy Minds


latina girl student school class

A child needs more than nutritious food and physical activity to be healthy. They need healthy minds, too. But 1 in 5 children today suffer a serious mental illness. Depressive symptoms among Latino youth are especially high, putting them at risk of dropping out of school, using drugs, and suicide. For Mental Health Awareness Month in May, let’s use #SaludTues on May 9, 2017, to share tips and strategies to promote healthy minds and environments for Latino and all kids across the U.S. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: "Latino Kids and Healthy Minds" TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, May 9, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludToday CO-HOSTS: Cheryl Aguilar (@cheryl_aguilar); Jesus Rodriguez, MD of Kaiser Permanente ...

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Latinos Still Least Likely to Have Health Insurance, If Trumpcare or Obamacare


kid sitting poverty low income health

Only about 1 in 10 people don't have health insurance in 2017. That means far more people are covered with health insurance now than in 2013 before the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, went into effect. However, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved a healthcare bill that could leave 24 million fewer people insured by 2026 than under Obamacare, CNN reports. Here's how the bill would work, according to Salon.com. In any case, Latinos will likely still face the biggest uphill climb for healthcare coverage. The State of Latino Healthcare Coverage Latinos are among several groups to suffer from lack of health insurance with rates far above the national average, according to U.S. News & World Report. Other groups with less coverage than whites include ...

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Latinos Less Likely to Get Life-Saving Heart Device


hispanic man heart attack

Latino and black patients were less likely to be offered an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, a potentially lifesaving device that shocks the heart when it detects a dangerously irregular heart rhythm, according to a recent study cited by American Heart Association News. The study confirms that long-standing disparities are not going away. Something needs to be done, said Dr. Samir Saba, a cardiac electrophysiologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who was not involved in the study, told American Heart Association News. “Very few insights exist into the root causes,” said Saba, who has treated patients with heart failure for nearly two decades. “Here we are in 2017 … and still we are speculating about what could be going on.” The study, ...

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Why Are Most-Stressed-Out Cities Largely Latino?


despression stress mental health lady headache

Where you live could be impacting your stress levels (and overall health). SmartAsset, a financial company, recently examined the positive and negative factors of the largest 500 U.S. cities to determine the stress levels facing those residents. They rated things like sleep time, commute time, physical activity, and unemployment. Boulder, Colo. (13.9% Latino) ranked as SmartAsset's least-stressed city. The top-10 “most-stressed” cities, sadly, were heavily Latino-populated areas in the Southern U.S. Why Do Latinos Face Stress? Unchecked stress can impact your mental and physical health. It can also contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes, which disproportionately impact Latinos. Broward County, Fla. (27% Latino), provides one ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 5/2: Latinos and the Crisis of Air Quality


latina girl factory smoke pollution

Did you know air pollution is the world’s biggest environmental health threat? Air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths a year, according to WHO data. It is linked to heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, and even diabetes in kids. Sadly, Latinos breathe 38% more polluted air than whites. Let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, to tweet about the latest strategies to improve air quality for Latinos and all people, and help celebrate World Asthma Day (May 2, 2017) and National Air Quality Week (May 1-5, 2017)! WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Latinos and the Crisis of Air Quality” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, May 2, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludToday CO-HOSTS: Voces Verdes (@VocesVerdes), The ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 4/25: Healthy Kids Day, Summer and Life


Two Young Girls Playing On Swing In Playground

So many good things happen when kids go outside and play. Kids who are physically active have better grades, school attendance, and behavior than kids who aren’t, according to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Unfortunately, Latino kids lack access to safe places to play and be active. These kids face higher risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable diseases that threaten quality of life. Let’s use #SaludTues on April 25, 2017, to Tweet about how schools, communities, health providers, city leaders, and you can ensure this is the best and healthiest summer ever. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Healthy Kids Day, Summer and Life” TIME/DATE: TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. EST (Noon-1 p.m. CST), Tuesday, April 25, 2017 WHERE: ...

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Students, Teachers Push Big Solutions for Mental Health Issues


mental health heroes

Nearly 1 in 5 Latinos suffers a mental health problem. But Latinos are less likely than other groups to seek out treatment for mental health conditions. They fear being stigmatized. They lack of health insurance. They face cultural barriers. Or they simply a fail to recognize symptoms. That’s why we at SaludToday are spotlighting heroes who are improving mental health for Latino families! Irán Barrera: Helping Latinos Answer Mental Health Questions Dr. Irán Barrera believes there is a difference between mainstream mental health and Latino mental health. Latinos don't use words like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress. This means health professionals need training to address Latinos' mental health needs. That's why Barrera applied for and received ...

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How a ‘Neighborhood Health Action Center’ Could Solve Latino Health Inequities


health action center lobby rendering

Imagine: You are a 20-year-old Latina new mother in East Harlem, N.Y. You already live in a poor neighborhood that has a higher infant mortality rate than the nearby, wealthy Upper East Side. Now, as you leave the hospital, you need resources to care for yourself and the baby. Where do you get help? What if, blocks from your home, there's a place with workshops on infant safety and bonding? What if it also has a lactation room? What if it also has yoga and dance classes? What if it also offers primary care, mental health care, screenings, and vaccinations? What if you apply there for insurance, and get referrals to other local services, too? In New York, city leaders are creating these "Neighborhood Health Action Centers." Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the city's health ...

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Community Heroes Create Bigger, Better Ways for Families to Play


three salud heroes of play

Kids need places to play to be healthy. Physical activity is proven to help control weight, reduce risk of disease, strengthen muscles, and improve mental health. But Latino families are more likely than white families to live in neighborhoods with no recreational facilities, or unsafe ones. This is according to recent research cited by Salud America!, a national Latino childhood obesity prevention network at UT Health San Antonio and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That’s why we at SaludToday are spotlighting heroes who are creating play opportunities for Latino families! Irma Rivera: First Park in the 92701 Irma Rivera saw a child nearly hit by a car while playing in an empty parking lot in park-poor Santa Ana, Calif (78% Latino). She vowed to do fix ...

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A Bad Pepsi Ad, Exploitation of Latino Kids, and the Cost of Obesity


pepsi and kid social justice

Have you seen Pepsi's soda ad that it yanked after big public outrage? It shows a staged protest with good-looking multicultural crowd and model Kendall Jenner. Jenner gives a Pepsi to a police officer. He smiles, everyone's happy. Social justice delivered and police brutality solved—by soda. The ad sparked a storm of criticism, for some obvious reasons. Even scarier is that sugary drink marketers continues to exploit Latino and Black youth, and stir obesity issues in these groups, according to commentaries by Vox's Julia Belluz and The Washington Post's Michelle Singletary. Belluz writes: "The public health community has long argued that big soda’s targeting of African Americans and Latinos is exacerbating health problems in those communities. We now have a big ...

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