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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 4/11: Sleep for Salud


hispanic sleeping lady tired clock

Sleep. Everyone needs it—and wants it. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to heart attacks, diabetes, obesity and other serious health issues that affect Latinos more, CDC reports. For Sleep Awareness Month in April, let's use #SaludTues on April 11, 2017, to explore how much Latinos sleep (or don’t sleep), why sleep is key for good health, and how you and your family can improve sleeping habits. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: “Sleep for Salud” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, April 11, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludToday CO-HOSTS: Dr. Chris Winter (@SportSleepDoc), American Academy of Sleep Medicine (@AASMOrg) We’ll open the floor to questions on sleep like: Why is it good to have a daily ...

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Study: Liver Cancer in Latinos Linked to Contaminated Food


aflatoxin in corn liver cancer

Even as U.S. cancer rates decline, liver cancer rates remain on the rise, especially among Latinos. But why? A new UT Health San Antonio study found that Latinos with liver cancer had much higher levels of aflatoxins than those without liver cancer. Alfatoxins are cancer-causing chemicals produced by mold that can contaminate improperly stored foods. People can ingest aflatoxins in contaminated corn, nuts, rice, sesame seeds, wheat, and some spices. For the study, researchers gauged aflatoxin exposure in 42 liver cancer cases and 42 non-cases from clinics in San Antonio, Texas. Two-thirds of the pairs were Latinos. Liver cancer cases had 6 times higher odds of having detectable levels of aflatoxins in their blood, compared to non-cases. "This study means that Latinos ...

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Study: Latinas Don’t Eat a Healthy Diet Before Pregnancy


pregnant latina mom

Most Latina and black women do not eat a healthy diet before pregnancy, despite its many benefits, according to a new study. A healthy maternal diet can reduce risk of obesity, preterm birth, and preeclampsia. The study scored the diets of 7,500 women in the weeks leading up to pregnancy. No women in any racial/ethnic group met the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, according to study leader Lisa Bodnar of the University of Pittsburgh. Only about 25% of white, 14% of Latina, and 5% of black women had well-scored diets. Soda was the primary contributor to energy intake among Latina an black women, according to the study. "Our findings mirror national nutrition and dietary trends. The diet-quality gap among non-pregnant people is thought to be a consequence of many factors, ...

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Report: More Latino Youth Are Disconnected, Not in School, Not Working


Latina teen young adult sad depressed

More Latino youths are not in school and not working than white youths, according to a new report. These youth—also called "disconnected"—face hurdles as they become adults where they live. This includes lower rates of education, and higher rates of child poverty, unemployment, and teen births. 1 in 8 U.S. youths ages 16-24 are "disconnected." Disconnection, a new measure in the new 2017 County Health Rankings, creates health and economic issues. "Youth disconnected from opportunity—meaning the chance to advance in school, gain work experience, form relationships, and build social supports in the community—represent untapped potential to strengthen the social and economic vibrancy of our communities," according to the report. How to Help The County Health Rankings, ...

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Water Champions Push H2O for Latino Kids, Families



Water isn't magic, but it can help you stay hydrated, control calories, and fuel muscles. But Latino kids don't drink enough water. In fact, Latino kids drink less plain water and more sugary drinks than white kids. That is according to research by Salud America!, a national Latino childhood obesity prevention network at UT Health San Antonio. That’s why we are spotlighting heroes who work hard to push water for Latino kids and families! Praxina Guerra: 5th-Grader Gets Hydration Station in School San Antonio fifth-grader Praxina Guerra and her mentor, Cathy Lopez, are true Salud Heroes when it comes to creating a healthy school environment. Praxina, spurred on by Lopez, joined the city's San Antonio Student Ambassador program and created a student club to encourage ...

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#SaludTues Bilingual Tweetchat 4/4/17: Clinical Trials and Latinos


hispanic latina lady face older

Did you know fewer than 5% percent of Latinos participate in federal clinical trials? Researchers thus have less chance to develop new cancer treatments for this population, which suffers a heavy burden of certain cancers, obesity, and mental health issues. Let’s use #SaludTues on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, to tweet in English and Spanish about the latest strategies to get more Latino into clinical trials for National Minority Health Month in April 2017 and National Public Health Week April 3-9, 2017: WHAT: #SaludTues Bilingual Tweetchat: “Clinical Trials and Latinos” TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, April 4, 2017 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludToday CO-HOSTS: FDA Office of Minority Health (@FDAOMH), FDA En Español ...

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Teachers Who Went Above and Beyond for Students, Communities



What makes a great teacher? Great teachers not only work hard to ensure the academic success and leadership skills of their students, they also help students develop healthy habits for life. That's why we at Salud America! are excited to spotlight some teachers who have gone above and beyond for the well-being of their students! Ana Suffle: School Garden Maven El Paso, Texas, shares its border with Mexico. This creates an interesting cultural dynamic where some students cross the border daily from Mexico to go to Bowie High School in El Paso. Ana Suffle, a 15-year teacher at Bowie, said many students eat cheap, addictive fast food instead of traditional Hispanic dishes filled with fresh veggies, spices and tons of flavor, according to a Salud Hero story by Salud ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 3/28/17: Let’s Celebrate National Nutrition Month


food at grocery store latino kids

The nutritional quality of the food we eat will impact our health now and in the long run. For instance, too much salt in one’s diet can increase a person’s chances of having high blood pressure. While eating more fruits and vegetables can help prevent weight gain and reduce one’s risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Let's use #SaludTues on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, and join a great panel of co-hosts and YOU on Twitter to spread the word about what can be done to promote better nutrition in Latino communities and reduce disparities in chronic disease, as part of National Nutrition Month in March 2017. WHAT: #SaludTues Tweetchat: Let’s Celebrate National Nutrition Month TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. ET (Noon-1 p.m. CT), Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2017 WHERE: On ...

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In 3rd-Largest U.S. City, Living in Certain Neighborhoods Means Worse Health


Chicago town

Latinos in certain Chicago neighborhoods face worse physical and mental health and more food insecurity than nationwide, according to a new report, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. For the report, the Sinai Community Health Survey 2.0, researchers from the Sinai Urban Health Institute surveyed 1,900 residents in nine ethnically diverse Chicago neighborhoods, including Gage Park (92% Latino), Humboldt Park (89%) and South Lawndale (84%). Chicago is 29% Latino overall. “The data paint a stark and complex picture of health and wellness in many Chicago communities, varied by race, income and ethnicity,” said Dr. Sharon Homan, president of the Sinai Urban Health Institute, told the Sun-Times. “To develop meaningful interventions to improve health, we must first understand the ...

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11 Foods Your Mouth Will Thank You for Eating


salmon cheese yogurt

SaludToday Guest Blogger Jefferson Dental Care In the mouth of the average Latino adult, you will find eight decayed, filled or missing teeth—but you may not find enough yogurt or leafy greens. Eating vitamin-packed foods, like those, can fight cavities. Putting the right foods in your mouth also can reduce plaque, support oral health, and boost overall health (even if they can’t heal existing cavities). Here’s our guide for picking foods to give your mouth a healthy boost. Dairy 1. Cheese is supercharged with calcium and phosphorus, which supports absorption of calcium, and vitamins D and K. In a 2013 study in the Journal of General Dentistry, researchers found that consuming cheddar cheese is effective at fighting cavities by raising the pH level inside the ...

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