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Amelie Ramirez

I am director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. I have spent 30 years directing research on human and organizational communication to reduce chronic disease, cancer, and obesity health disparities affecting Latinos.

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Articles by Amelie Ramirez

Sugary Drinks Research: Future Research


This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Future research needs Further research could focus on differences in SSB consumption and the effect on obesity and health among Latino subgroups, as most studies that tease out results by racial/ethnic group focus on Mexican Americans. More research is also needed on the beverages available and promoted in early child care settings and how new federal, state, and (where they have regulatory authority) local regulations impact this in both licensed and unlicensed child care settings. Further research on the potential impact of SSB prices and taxes on Latinos, particularly youths, could be conducted. It will be important to evaluate the taxes implemented in Philadelphia, Cook County, Ill., and the ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Policy Implications

sugary drinks latina in store

This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Conclusions The large amount of added sugar consumed by Latino youths in the form of SSBs must be addressed, given the impact of this added sugar on obesity. Young people are exposed to a wide variety of SSB advertising and promotion, with exposure among Latinos disproportionately high, despite voluntary efforts by beverage companies to reduce marketing to children. Very few early childcare facilities report serving sugary drinks to children ages 0-5, but increased regulation can reduce serving of sugary drinks and increase promotion of water. A more sizable price increase on all SSBs could have a significant effect on consumption of SSBs and could improve weight12,30–33,36,38,49,67,77,92,112–115 ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Water

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This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Latino children consume less water than their peers Research based on national NHANES data (2005-06, 2007-08, and 2009-10) has shown that water intakes among U.S. children ages 4-13 are below recommended levels. Mexican-American children consumed less plain water than Non-Hispanic white children, on average, and children living in lower-income households were less likely to consume water as a beverage than those in high-income households.105 Studies have found that Hispanics are more likely to perceive tap water as unsafe and are less likely to drink tap water compared to Non-Hispanic whites.38,106–108 Recent NHANES data showed that over half (56%) of Mexican-American children consumed water from ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Pricing

sugary drink pricing research infographic

This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Sugary drink consumption is responsive to changes in pricing One recent systematic review concluded that a 10 percent increase in soft drink prices would lead to a 7.9 percent reduction in soft drink consumption.85 A second systematic review of studies published from January 2007 through March 2012 concluded that a 10 percent price increase for SSBs only would lead to an even larger—12.1 percent—reduction in SSB consumption, as some consumers would switch to diet, water and other lower-calorie options. Price increases on more narrowly defined categories of SSBs (e.g., regular carbonated soda) would lead to larger reductions in consumption in these categories.86 A recent randomized controlled trial ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Childcare Settings

This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Early childcare settings are diverse The National Household Education Survey reports that 60 percent of all U.S. children ages 5 and younger not yet enrolled in kindergarten were in some form of non-parental care at least once a week in.69 Among these children, 56 percent were cared for in a center such as a day care center, Head Start program, preschool, prekindergarten, or other early childhood programs. Children in full-time child care programs obtain typically half to three-fourths of their daily energy in these settings.70 The types of child care facilities and programs available in the U.S. vary considerably, including large and small child care centers, family day care homes, Head Start facilities, ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Marketing

latino sugary drink marketing

This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Latino kids have rates of media exposure The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages TV watching among all children younger than 2.46 In 2014, a randomized obesity prevention trial investigated racial/ethnic trends in infant feeding and activity behaviors and their relation to future obesity risk among 863 parents (50% Latino) of 2-month-old infants.47 According to study investigators, parental adherence to the AAP’s TV-watching recommendation was low.48 Nearly 50 percent of all parents reported active TV-watching among their infants, with over 90 percent reporting that infants had exposure to TV throughout the day.47 For Latinos, 41 percent of infants took part in active TV watching for ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Weight Gain

sugary drink pricing little girl

This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » More sugary drinks is linked to higher body weight Those who consume a greater amount of SSBs tend to have higher body weight than those who drink less.5 A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 32 studies, including prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials, associated SSB intake with risk of weight gain in children and adults.22 Similarly, a meta-analysis of 88 studies found a clear association between soft drink consumption and weight.23 By contrast, a recent systematic review of papers focused on regular soda consumption among children and adolescents and published between 2004 and 2014 did not find an association between regular soda consumption and weight among all age ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Latino Kids’ Consumption Rates

sugary drinks latino kids data

This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Sugary drink consumption among infants, toddlers In the largest longitudinal study of infant feeding practices in the U.S., the Infant Feeding Practices Study II (IFPS II), prevalence of any SSB intake during infancy (between ages 1-12 months) was 25.9 percent in 2005-2007.5 Research from the 2008 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), a cross-sectional survey describing infant feeding practices, nutrient intake, and food consumption patterns of U.S. infants and young children, showed that: 0.6 percent of infants ages 4-5.9 months 5 percent of infants 6-8.9 months and 10.7 percent of infants 9-11.9 months consumed SSBs at least once in a day.6 Prevalence of SSB consumption in a given day ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Introduction & Methods

hand holding soda can pouring a crazy amount of sugar in metaphor of sugar content of a refresh drink dietary guidelines

This is part of our Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Introduction Americans obtain over 40 percent of their total sugar in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), including soda, sports and energy drinks, and fruit drinks that contain less than 100 percent juice. Young Americans—including young Latinos—drink far more of these beverages than they did a few decades ago.1 Further, as young Americans’ consumption of soda, fruit drinks, and other SSBs has increased, their consumption of white, unsweetened milk has decreased at the same time.2 Cross sectional studies have shown that children’s milk intakes are inversely associated with intakes of SSBs, including juice drinks and soda, as early as 2 years of age.3,4 This trend is particularly ...

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