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Rachel Lopez


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Articles by Rachel Lopez

The Shocking Rise in Anti-Latino Hate Crimes


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The number of victims from anti-Latino hate crimes rose by over 21% last year, according to new FBI data. While the total number of hate crimes fell slightly to 7,120 from 2017 to 2018, the amount of hate crimes involving physical violence — intimidation, assault, and homicide — reached a 16-year high. The number of hate crime homicides hit its highest number ever: 24 murder victims. This, coupled with the rise in anti-Latino hate crimes, is alarming, experts say. "We're seeing a leaner and meaner type of hate crime going on," Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said in a statement. The Politics of Hate: Anti-Latino Biases Some experts are connecting the hate crime data and current political ...

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How Does Air Quality Impact Childhood Obesity?


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Latino and all kids could have a higher risk for obesity based on the mere air they breathe. A past study placed pregnant lab rats into two different chambers: one with polluted air from Beijing and one with filtered air. Parent and offspring rats in the first chamber gained more weight than the other rats. They were also more likely to have cardiorespiratory and metabolic dysfunctions. Junfeng “Jim” Zhang, professor of global and environmental health at Duke University, wants to find out if this same risk applies to humans. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has awarded Zhang a $2 million grant to study the effects of prenatal and early-life exposure to air pollution. He will examine how birthweight and early childhood growth—two ...

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Get Vaccinated Now: The Flu Makes Chronic Diseases Worse


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You may be one of the 42.9 million people who got the flu last season. Perhaps you were among the over 645,000 people hospitalized due to the flu. Or maybe you even knew one of the 61,200 people who died from flu-related causes, according to CDC estimates. Today, health experts are bracing for an even worse upcoming flu season. Trends around the globe can sometimes predict outcomes in the United States, and Australia just had an unusually early and relatively serious flu season. Flu activity in the U.S. begins around October and runs through May, so now is the time to get you flu shot! “We know it isn’t perfect, but we need to emphasize the importance of partial protection,” says Dr. William Schaffner, director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “If you ...

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New Play Streets Guide: How to Create Active Spaces for Rural Children


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Every kid needs physical activity and active spaces for healthy growth. But physical inactivity has increased 10% in rural and low-income communities, according to a new study. Rural children have higher risks for obesity than kids living in cities—and rural children of color are at the most risk. This is where Play Streets comes in. Play Streets are place-based interventions that temporarily close a public area to create safe places for physical activity. This engages kids and families, gets people active, and promotes community connections. Now researchers from Baylor University and Johns Hopkins University has released their Guide to Implementing Play Streets in Rural Communities. Using first-hand experience, the guide teaches local groups, ...

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Study: Just Being a Minority Can Worsen Your Mental Health


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Merely being a minority person of color can be worse for your mental health than low income or experiencing neighborhood violence. Puerto Rican teens and young adults growing up in the South Bronx of New York City are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than their peers growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, says a new study in World Psychiatry. Both of these groups live in similar conditions — the big difference is the youth in New York grow up as a minority. “How others interact with you as a minority can affect your mental health and how you see yourself,” said lead author Dr. Margarita Alegria of the Disparities Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. Members of minority groups often experience racism and discrimination. They also hold the idea ...

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Free Online Tool: Preventing Suicide in Rural Communities


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Suicide is rising drastically, especially in rural parts of the United States, according to a new study. The rate of suicide rose 41% among those ages 25-64 over the past 17 years of data. In addition, suicide rates among people living in rural counties were 25% higher than those in metro areas, NBC News reports. To reduce these inequities, the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub) released a free Rural Suicide Prevention Toolkit. "The modules in the toolkit contain resources and information focused on developing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining rural suicide prevention programs," RHIhub states on their website. The Issue of Rural Health Care and Suicide People who live in rural areas face unique health challenges: Limited access to primary and mental health ...

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