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Recommendations to Improve Access to Healthy Food, Activity in Texas



Too many children in Texas do not know where their next meal is coming from, and, when food is available, it is too often junk food with little or no nutritional value. So Texans Care for Children has released a new report, “Nourishing Texas Children: Preventing the Twin Challenges of Childhood Hunger and Obesity,” which recommends five strategies to improve access to nutritious food and opportunities for physical activity. The recommendations are: 1. Increase the availability of healthy, affordable food in “food deserts.” 2. Improve nutrition and physical activity in schools and child care environments. 3. Promote breastfeeding. 4. Increase participation in and infrastructure to deliver existing nutrition programs. 5. Establish stronger linkages between farmers and ...

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News: California taqueria owners add healthier foods



Several restaurants in Monterey County, Calif., have added healhier items like yogurt with fruit, oatmeal and trans-fat meals to their traditional taqueria fare, according to the Salinas Californian. The restaurants took part in an initiative to teach taqueria owners about healthier foods. About 14 of the 16 owners who participated began to offer healthier side dishes, and seven added entrees with fewer calories and fat, but with more fruits and vegetables. For years, county officials have educated owners of taquerias, staples of Latino communities, about nutrition and helped them add healthier food options to their menus. One of the owners, Gloria Del Real (pictured), now cooks with olive oil rather than soybean oil. The program was featured in a recent issue of ...

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Study: Adapting to U.S. Culture Can Improve Latino Men’s Success Quitting Smoking



Latino men who are more adapted to U.S. culture are more likely to quit smoking than their less-acculturated counterparts, according to research by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center released Dec. 3, 2009, from the December issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. The study of 271 Latino smokers who called a Spanish-language smoking cessation quitline examined the influence of gender and indicators of acculturation on the ability to quit smoking. Men who had been in the U.S. for up to five years had about 20 percent smoking abstinence rate at three months after the quitline program. But more than 35 percent of men who had been in the U.S. for 23-76 years abstained. Those who preferred to view news and entertainment mainly or exclusively in English ...

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Report: A ‘Portrait’ of Latino Cancer



Latinos are less likely to die from cancer than other groups, but have higher rates of cancers related to infections (stomach, liver and cervix) and are more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, according to Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics 2009-2011, a new American Cancer Society report. For many cancer types, Hispanics are far more likely than whites to be diagnosed in advanced stages of disease, when the cancer is likely to be less treatable. The report highlights the need for programs that target Hispanics, from addressing disparities in income, education, and access to health care to better understanding cultural values and ...

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Story: Latina Mom Sets Example for Family’s Health



A funny thing happened when Rosa, Latino mother of four in Chicago, parted ways with a beloved family member — the living room sofa, where she had let "life pass" her by so many times. She got off the couch and got healthy. Three years ago, she forced herself to leave the couch and attend a local nutrition class. That act literally changed her life. Rosa’s nutrition teacher helped put together a healthy eating plan for her and her kids. Early on, even Rosa resisted eating some healthy foods and thought her children felt the same way. But she knew no one in her home would ever eat the new foods on her food plan if she didn’t try them first. She knew she had to lead by example. Rosa eventually lost 60 pounds, and her children got a lot healthier, too. Read more stories ...

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Report: Obesity Rates Higher in Southern U.S.



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity has released a fact sheet on Southern obesity that shows disproportionately higher rates of childhood obesity here compared to the rest of the U.S. The eight states with the highest percentages of overweight or obese children are all in the South. In every Southern state except Oklahoma, at least 30 percent of children are overweight or obese (see map). Income, race and ethnicity and education are part of the problem. At each level of income, African American and Latino children were in worse health than whites. And white boys born in 2000 have a 27 percent risk of being diagnosed with diabetes during their lifetimes, while African American and Latino boys have a 40 and 45 percent lifetime risk, ...

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Story: Villareal Freshens Up Her Life



Ask Estefanía Evia Villareal (pictured) the best thing about not smoking any more and the 21-year-old will give you a variety of answers, beginning with the way she feels every morning when she wakes up. “First of all," she said, "that feeling of being fresh – being clean, fresh, the smell of my sheets and my clothes, (the feeling in) my mouth, my throat." Estefanía, a recent graduate of UT San Antonio who plans to get her teaching certificate so she can eventually teach elementary school children, had been a smoker for the past five years, starting in high school. Earlier this year she decided to kick the habit. It took a little while and there were some stops and starts, but when she finally quit smoking, she did it one day at a time. She walks for an hour three times a ...

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Texas Kids With Cancer Get a Fun Day in the Sun



Temperatures soared higher than 100 degrees this July in South Padre Island, Texas, but it didn’t matter to Greg Ayer and his 19-month old daughter, Pamela (pictured). Pamela, who has neuroblastoma, a type of cancer, was thrilled at her first trip to Schlitterbahn Waterpark. “She had a blast for being 19 months old. She rode four rides,” said Greg Ayer, who brings Pamela to her doctor’s appointments in South Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley. “Two months before that, she wasn’t even walking!” The Ayers were among 220 patients and families from Driscoll Children’s Hospital Specialty Center in Brownsville who went to Schlitterbahn on July 30 thanks in part to the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind ...

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Upcoming Events on Health Disparities



Check out these upcoming events on health disparities: 3rd Annual Conference on Health Disparities Morehouse School of Medicine, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Congressional Tri-Caucus will host the third annual Conference on Health Disparities Dec. 2-5, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. This event will focus on bringing equity and justice to health care reform. National Hispanic Health Foundation Scholarship Dinner The National Hispanic Medical Association's National Hispanic Health Foundation will host its 6th Annual Scholarship Dinner Dec. 3, 2009 in New York City. With support from its partners, the foundation will have provided at least $238,000 in awards to health students who have excellent academic achievement, leadership and commitment to delivering care to the ...

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