Pre-K kids are Influenced by Unhealthy Marketing Shows New Study

Many Latino preschool kids deal with heavy advertisements of unhealthy food marketing and consume more sugary beverages and junk foods than their peers. Now a new study highlights the importance of healthier food marketing to kids of preschool age. The study reported on in Pediatrics found that food advertisement exposure may actually encourage more eating among the young, and depending on which foods are offered, could be adding to a risk for unhealthy weights. Sixty children ages two to five were given a healthy snack then asked to watch a 14-minute TV ad, half watching an ad about food, the other half watching an ad featuring a department store. They were then given an option after seeing the ads to consume more snack foods, where the kids who saw the food ad ate 30 more ...

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Jose Ramos: Pursuing a Dream to Become a Doctor

Jose Ramos

Jose Ramos never gives up. He learned how to persevere from his mother, who survived breast cancer, and his parents, who worked hard to provide for their family. He managed to stay out of the same trouble—crime and dropping out of school—that afflicted his siblings. And he is keeping his goal in sight: becoming an MD/PhD. Ramos, who was the first in his family to graduate high school and college, is currently studying global disease as a master’s student in public health at Columbia University. He’s not just limiting his efforts to the classroom, either. In 2016, Ramos earned a fellowship with the Ministry of Health in Cape Town, South Africa. He also will intern with the Brazilian Health Association in Rio de Janeiro, where he will conduct community-based ...

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Stephanie McCoy: Pushing the Boundaries of Public Health

Participants gather for a group photo at a past Exito Summer Institute.

Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2016 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. Apply now. Stephanie McCoy isn’t just her family’s first college student and graduate. She is their first master’s-degree student and—should she decide to pursue it—could become their first doctoral degree student, too. McCoy, who is strongly motivated by her personal experiences and her immigrant parents who overcame adversity, is ardently pursuing a career in public health and currently is a master’s student in health behavior and health education at the University of Texas at Austin. She already is already gaining experience working in underserved communities. McCoy has spent several years working with nonprofit organizations, as well as ...

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Paloma Suarez: Advocating for Low-Income Latinas

Paloma Suarez

Known as a “daddy’s girl,” Paloma Suarez learned to be independent from day one when her father encouraged her that she can achieve anything. Growing up in the Dominican Republic and observing massive health inequalities between social classes that led to disproportionate disease burdens, Suarez knew she wanted to improve the status and health of women and families. Suarez is a certified lactation consultant and senior nutritionist for the local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) federal assistance program in Great Barrington, Mass. She is an advocate and translator for mothers who depend on federal assistance, helping them learn the importance of nutrition and physical activity. To increase her training, Suarez applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership ...

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Ana Hernandez: Using Healthy Food to Fight Cancer

Ana Hernandez

Guided by her heritage and the “coqui,” support from her parents, and wisdom from God, Ana Hernandez always strives to help others. Healthy food is her main utensil for assistance. In fact, Hernandez has helped many people live healthier lives as a registered dietician who focuses on functional foods. Hernandez, who has a degree in human nutrition and foods from the School Family and Consumer Sciences at Texas State University, is also a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an officer of the Nutrition and Education and Outreach student organization. Just like the “arepas de cojo” she created to benefit Puerto Ricans with metabolic syndrome, she has a keen interest in how food can prevent cancer, which needs far more attention on solutions to the ...

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Mercedes Watson: Social Worker Brings Healing to Others

Mercedes Watson Garcia

The soft touch of a crocheted blanket reminds Mercedes Watson of her grandmother, who taught her how to crochet and speak Spanish. Watson, who has put a lot of time and creativity into making many beautiful hand-crocheted blankets, she also is dedicating her efforts toward cancer research will bring healing and unique benefits for Latino health via community resources and patient navigation. Despite becoming pregnant as a high-school senior with her daughter, Ally, Watson overcame many struggles and was determined to continue her education. She earned a master’s degree from San Diego State University. She has gone on to become a medical social worker for Cancer Resource Center of the Desert, Aria Hospice, and Gentiva Home Health. To increase her training, she applied for ...

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Grant Opportunity Applications Open Till December 15th!

Grants up to $90,000 are now available for those focused on helping kids grow up at a healthy weight through state, local and tribal public policy campaigns. Applicants can apply to the Voices for Healthy Kids grant by Thursday, December 15th, 2016 and applications must be specific to an individual campaign focused on changing public policy in one state, local or tribal geographic location and must align with one of the Voices for Healthy Kids policy priorities. To learn more, visit the Voices for Healthy Kids Policy Lever site and review the policy priorities, and submit applications via email to The support for this grant is through the collaboration of The American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, working in ...

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Zandra Perez: Nursing Latinos to Health

Zandra Perez

Although she wasn’t allowed to speak Spanish growing up, Zandra Perez’s grandmother made sure she knew her roots by helping her become bilingual. Perez also draws on her faith and believes in the value of all lives. As such, Perez is working hard as a nurse to provide quality care for underserved Latinos. She earned her nursing degree from the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio and is currently one of two educators working to recruit rural area clinics to participate in eradicating tuberculosis by screening and treating for latent tuberculosis. Perez hopes to educate her patients on the importance of health screenings and preventative care. So she applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program, which recruits 25 master’s-level students ...

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Report: Many Latinos Live in “Child Care Deserts”

latina girl hugging mom

While the term “child care desert” isn’t widely known, for many Latino families, the ramifications that stem from this lack of affordable, high-quality child care are fast becoming a major concern. A child care desert refers to an area with at least 30 children under the age of 5 with either no child care centers or there were “more than three times as many children under age 5” as there were spaces in centers, the Center for American Progress (CAP) reports. For working parents, finding quality and affordable child care can already be a daunting task; however, for those families living in rural areas, the problem becomes disproportionately worse. The CAP recently released a report examining the location of child care centers across eight states, which made up 20% of the ...

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