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Alyssa Gonzales

Articles by Alyssa Gonzales

The Results Are In: How Nutritious Is Food in the US?


Healthy Food

The nation’s largest food and drink companies are “not making adequate progress” on their promises to make, market, and sell healthy food and drinks, according to the the U.S. Access to Nutrition Index 2022. The index, published by the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI), evaluates the companies’ on the healthiness of their products and their nutrition-related commitments, policies, and disclosures. None of the 11 largest companies had more than 49% of sales from healthier products. “While all companies have placed a greater focus on nutrition in their corporate strategies since the first index was released in 2018, their actual products have not become healthier, and they are not making sufficient efforts to safeguard children from the marketing of unhealthy ...

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‘Last Roll of the Dice’: How a Cancer Clinical Trial Saved Timothy Leech


Timothy Leech with wife Katie

Timothy Leech just celebrated his 40th birthday when he got news that changed his life. Timothy was diagnosed with Stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, in 2014. Doctors told him he had only a short time to live. “I freaked out, for sure. I thought I was going to be gone real quick,” Timothy said. But, today, eight years later, Timothy is a cancer survivor. He credits his wife, Katie Leech, his medical team, and a clinical trial for getting him to where he is today – not entirely cancer-free but “so small that it’s immeasurable.” A clinical trial is a research study that helps researchers learn more to help slow, manage, and treat diseases like cancer. “It was very much like, this [clinical trial] is the last roll of the dice here,” ...

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‘Maybe I Can Help Somebody Else’: Willie Heard’s Unwavering Faith Through Clinical Trials


Willie Heard

Willie Heard is a man of faith. His faith stood strong even after he got tragic news in September 2013. Heard was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a group of bone marrow cancers in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. His cancer diagnosis came just months after retiring from his job at USAA and just shy of his 67th birthday. “I’m a religious person and a minister and, I think I remember telling the doctor, I said, ‘Doctor you do what you do, I’m gonna let God do what he does,’” said Heard, a resident of San Antonio, Texas.  “[The cancer diagnosis] was a surprise to me, but I’ve always been a person that don’t really worry about stuff I can’t control, so I don’t let that bother me.” Heard’s Decision to ...

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Recognizing National Latinx Aids Awareness Day


Young Latinx friends

October 15, 2022 is National Latinx Aids Awareness Day (NLAAD). This observance calls for raising awareness on the impact of HIV on Hispanic/Latino/Latinx communities and eliminating stigma. NLAAD, first created by the by the Hispanic Federation and the Latino Commission on AIDS in 2003, is a good opportunity to feature the CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together (Together) campaign in English and Spanish, which is part of the national campaign of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. “[The Together campaign] aims to empower communities, partners, and health care providers to reduce HIV stigma and promote HIV testing, prevention, and treatment,” according to the CDC. The State of HIV among Latinos on NLAAD Sadly, ...

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Positive Study Results Give New Hope for Alzheimer’s Patients


Older Latina and family member

Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones have new reason for hope after positive results from clinical trial of a new treatment called lecanemab. Lecanemab – a drug designed to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by targeting amyloid plaque buildup in the brain – reduced the progression of cognitive decline among trial participants by 27% over 18 months, compared to placebo, according to UsAgainstAlzheimers. “This is very important and quite positive news that gives our nation’s 6 million Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones reason to hope again. In fact, the data is a reminder that each drug in this class of therapies is quite different,” said George Vradenburg, chair and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimers. What do the results show, and how will ...

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#SaludTues Tweetchat 11/1/22: How Can Physical Activity Benefit Brain Health for Older Latinos  


Older Latina working out.

The Latino population has grown to represent 18.9% of the nation’s population. This rise, however, means that more Latinos will experience Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Studies have shown that physical activity can impact older Latinos and their brain health. Let’s use #SaludTues on Nov. 1, 2022, to dive into brain health in older Latinos and how different types of physical activity can benefit and prevent dementia! WHAT: #SaludTues: How Can Physical Activity Benefit Brain Health for Older Latinos TIME/DATE: 1-2 p.m. EST (Noon-1 p.m. CST), Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022 WHERE: On Twitter with hashtag #SaludTues HOST: @SaludAmerica CO-HOSTS: Us Against Alzheimer (@UsAgainstAlz); Susie Aguiñaga, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health ...

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“No Child Should Go to Bed Hungry”: White House Takes Action on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health


Collage of Conference

The Biden-Harris Administration announced its goal to eliminate hunger in America, improve diet and physical activity, and reduce diet-related disease by 2030 during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on Sept. 28, 2022 – the first such conference in over 50 years. The goal is based on five pillars of strategic action: Improve food access and affordability. Integrate nutrition and health. Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices. Support physical activity for all. Enhance nutrition and food security research. President Joe Biden also shared three foundational principles for the goal. “Help more Americans access the food that will keep their families nourished and healthy, lot of food deserts out there. Second, ...

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Reframing Childhood Obesity Through a Cultural Lens


Latino family eating dinner.

In the last few years, childhood obesity has become a global epidemic. The effort to change individual choices – like diet and physical activity – hasn’t solved the problem, and also contributes to weight discrimination. That is why we need to use cultural insights, nutritional science, and a systemic focus to improve child health, according to a new report from the Vanderbilt University Cultural Context of Health and Wellbeing Initiative. “What we label ‘obesity’ is produced by interrelated systems in which human biology interacts with environments, social norms, economic structures, and historical legacies,” according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation blog post about the report, Reframing Childhood Obesity: Cultural Insights on Nutrition, Weight and Food ...

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