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Stacy Cantu-Pawlik

Stacy Cantu completed both her BS & MPH at Texas A&M University (gig ‘em!), and is passionate about all things public health. She curates content on Healthy Food and Healthy Minds.

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Articles by Stacy Cantu-Pawlik

Study: Latinos Less Likely to Get Mental Health Care, Causing Missed Work

Latinos and blacks are less likely than whites to get the mental health services they need, and more likely to miss work as a result, according to a new study. The study, published by California-based Rand Corporation, found a relationship between untreated mental health problems and multiple absences from work. This has a big economic toll on Latino and black individuals and families, as multiple work absences usually mean lost pay or even lost jobs, reports California Healthline. The data shows that mental health problems caused 12% of blacks and 9.4% of Latino to miss four or more days of work a year, both higher rates than whites (7.9%). “This could have important repercussions for black [and Latino] Californians’ ability to earn income and stay employed in the face of ...

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The State of Policy on Junk Food and Drink Marketing to Kids

Latino kids are heavily targeted by junk food and sugary drink marketing. The food industry even dresses up unhealthy options with ad visuals of nutrition and physical activity. Marketing to kids is a big public health issue. That’s why it’s important to check out new policy changes aimed at reducing unhealthy food and drink marketing, compiled in a brief from the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Kate Bratskeir of Mic also recently imagined a world with no junk food marketing to kids, suggesting other key ways to reduce such marketing. “Without change in advertising regulations, parents alone will struggle to raise children unaffected by food marketing,” writes Bratskeir. Current Regulations in Other Countries Bratskeir examined how some countries ...

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If SNAP Gets Cut, Latino Health Suffers

snap food stamps (via istock)

UPDATE: After the U.S. House failed to pass the Farm Bill on May 18, 2018, reports surfaced June 20, 2018, that the U.S. House will "take a second look at their version of the Farm Bill, which again would jeopardize SNAP. A proposal to cut $20 billion over the next 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program as part of the proposed Farm Bill would dramatically impact Latino health, according to various reports. Latinos comprise more than 20% of participants in SNAP, commonly known as food stamps. SNAP benefits Latinos in a variety of ways, from accessing healthy food to lifting them out of poverty. Cuts to SNAP in the proposed Farm Bill, set to expire in September 2018, could jeopardize that aid by cutting support and adding barriers to ...

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Working on Wellness: Eliminating Food Deserts in the Rio Grande Valley


A food desert covers 52% of the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas-Mexico border, according to a recent assessment by the Working on Wellness project at Texas A&M University, the Rio Grande Guardian reports. Food deserts are areas more than 2 miles or 15 minutes away from a grocery store. People in Rio Grande Valley food deserts are predominantly Latino with low income and no transportation, according to the assessment by Working on Wellness. Fortunately, Working on Wellness is taking action to help. “We found out there were still a lot of areas that could be improved in terms of access whether that be walking trails, sidewalks, or healthy food retail-like groceries,” Evelia Castillo, Working on Wellness coordinator, told the Rio Grande Guardian. "So we’ve been working ...

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Study: Green Spaces Boost Brain Development in Latino Kids

kids running park green space play

Exposure to green spaces can boost brain development in school children, according to a new Spanish study with big implications for U.S. Latino children who lack access to parks where they live. The new study, which links long-term exposure to green spaces to enhanced cognitive function in Spanish children, was led by the Barcelona Institute of Global Health and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Researchers used MRIs and computerized tests to note children's working memory and inattentiveness every three months. They discovered children who grew up in homes surrounded by green space showed greater activity in the regions of their brain linked with learning. They also showed better ability to engage with others. Children near green space also showed lower levels of ...

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Latino Students: 10 Big Ideas on How Schools Can Improve Our Mental Health

brownsville students

A group of students from Brownsville Early College High School in Brownsville, Texas, worried how Latinos are less likely to report and seek care for mental health issues. The students wanted to help. So, as part of a national competition, the Brownsville students researched mental illness, observed its impact on their campus, surveyed their peers, and crafted their own 10 ideas how schools can meet students’ mental health needs. Now their effort has won them the Big Problems Big Ideas Challenge sponsored by the Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation to address childhood issues. The award gives them $3,000 to continue their efforts in mental health. “As a predominately Hispanic population in times of struggle, we feel like we are one step closer to making an impact ...

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