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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

Mental Health Research: Latino Family Issues


Latino child and parent communicatoon and suicide

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Cultural identify affects Latino youth self-esteem Umaña-Taylor and Updegraff used data from a longitudinal study on Latino adolescents’ ethnic identity to determine whether self-esteem, cultural orientation, and ethnic identity had a mediating or moderating effect on the relationship between discrimination and depression. The study included 273 Latino adolescents, 84 percent of whom identified as Mexican-American, and 72 percent of whom were born in the U.S. Participants completed a questionnaire that included questions related to self-esteem, depressive symptoms, cultural orientation, ethnic identity, and perceived discrimination. Acculturation, the process by which recent immigrants adopt cultural ...

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Mental Health Research: Introduction & Methods


Latino kid holding basketball

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Introduction Currently, over 56 million Latinos live in the United States, making up almost 18 percent of the total U.S. population. By 2060, it’s projected that there will be 119 million Latinos in the U.S.1 In addition to being the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the country, Latinos are also the youngest: 17.9 million Latinos, or roughly one third of the U.S. Latino population, are under the age of 18. Even more striking, almost half of U.S.-born Latinos are younger than 18.2 Latino youth are more likely to have mental health issues than their peers, a concern that should be taken even more seriously considering the growing population of young Latinos in the U.S. Twenty-two percent ...

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Mental Health Research: The Migration Experience


Latino farm boy in poverty and food insecurity

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Impact of immigration on the Latino kids' mental health Ko and Perreira conducted a cross-sectional study of interview data from the Latino Adolescent, Migration, Health, and Adaptation (LAMHA) project to understand the impact of immigration on the mental health of Latino children. The study included 283 pairs of first-generation Latino immigrant youth ages 12-19 and their caregivers. Participants were subjected to a survey with questions about mental health and experiences related to migration and acculturation (the process by which recent immigrants adopt cultural norms of their new country). Of these participants, 20 Latino adolescents ages 14-18, most of whom had emigrated from Mexico with their parents ...

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Mental Health Research: Latino Kids’ Access to Care


Latino kids' access to mental health care services

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Latino kids have unmet mental health care service needs Latino children and other racial/ethnic minority youth are less likely to receive the necessary mental health care compared with their white peers.8,9 A cross-sectional study of data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW) addressed mental health issues among Latino children ages 2-14 who were living with at least one biological parent (31% were preschool aged 2-5 years, 45.9% were school-aged 6-10 years, and 23.3% were adolescent 11-14 years). Of the three groups, adolescents had the highest rate of clinical need for mental health services at 60.9 percent, followed by school-aged children (38.3%) and preschool children ...

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Mental Health Research: Programs with Promise


Latino kids PE class and affect on sadness

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Physical activity is linked to mental health Several studies have demonstrated a positive relationship between physical activity and mental health among Latino children. The converse is also true. Jernigan, et al., in a study of preadolescents (46.8% Latino), found that greater negative emotional symptoms at the baseline interview predicted a significantly increased BMI at a 2-year follow-up for Latino students (p=.03).45 In a cross-sectional review of data from the Healthy Youth/Healthy Adults study, which included 1,870 Latino and non-Latino white adolescents (77% were Latino) ages 14-18 from Nueces County, Tex., Brosnahan et al. investigated whether there was a relationship between physical activity ...

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Mental Health Research: Issues Facing Latino Kids


Suicide rates among Latina students

This is part of our Mental Health & Latino Kids: A Research Review » Latina youth have a very high rate of thinking about suicide Latino females in grades 9-12 had the highest rate of suicidal ideation, at 25.6 percent, compared to 22.8 percent among their white peers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health’s assessment of Latino mental health based on results from the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), a self-report survey of high school students. The rate for Latino males of the same age group was much lower (12%), but it was still higher than that of white peers (11.5%). Latino females also reported the highest rate of suicide attempt (15.1% versus 9.8%), and Latino males reported a higher rate than their ...

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Sugary Drinks Research: Future Research


RethinkDrink

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


filtered water station_1500445421663_63055091_ver1.0_640_480

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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