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Social Smoking Damages Your Lungs Almost as Much as Heavy Smoking


teen smoking cigarettes

A new study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine suggests that there is no safe level of tobacco smoke exposure and that smoking cessation is the most effective means of harm reduction. Researchers from Columbia University examined the lung function of 25,000 people, including smokers, ex-smokers, and those who have never smoked. The study found that people who smoke five cigarettes a day are doing almost as much damage to their lungs as people who smoke more than 30 cigarettes a day. "Light" or "social" smokers will develop as much lung damage in one year as "heavy" smoking does in nine months. The study also noted that each lit cigarette releases 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are considered to be cancer-causing substances. "Smoking a few cigarettes a day is much ...

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The Dangerous State of Latino Childhood Obesity


State of Latino Childhood Obesity 2019 RWJF report

Latino kids have higher childhood obesity rates than their peers at nearly all age groups, according to a new report. For example, the newest data show Latino kids ages 10-17 have higher obesity rates (19%) than their white (11.8%) and Asian (7.3%) peers. They also have higher rates than the nation (15.3%), but lower rates than black kids (22.2%). The new stats are part of a bigger report, the State of Childhood Obesity: Helping All Children Grow up Healthy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). It highlights big data on childhood obesity, with policies and stories to drive change. “These new data show that this challenge touches the lives of far too many children in this country, and that Black and Hispanic youth are still at greater risk than their White and Asian ...

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Too Many Baby Food Brands Contain Heavy Metals


baby food heavy metals featured image

The vast majority of major baby foods brands contain toxic heavy metals, recent data show. Of the 168 popular brands tested, 95% contained lead, 73% contained arsenic, 75% contained cadmium, and 32% contained mercury, finds Healthy Babies Bright Futures' newly published report. These numbers should be troubling, as even low levels of these kinds of toxins can cause harm as they build up, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, pediatrician and Director of the Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good in the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College. "Arsenic, lead, and other heavy metals are known causes of neurodevelopmental harm," Landrigan said. "Low-level exposures add up, and exposures in early life are especially dangerous. The cumulative ...

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Medical Debt Plagues Texans of Color


medical debt collection via NPR

Texas Latinos and other communities of color are among the hardest hit by medical debt, according to a new report. The report, from the Center for Public Policy Priorities, shows that 1 in 4 Texans (23%) has medical debt. In communities of color, that rises to nearly 1 in 3 Texans (29%). These rates are higher than in other states and the nation. "When people can’t pay their medical bills, costs turn into mounting medical debt," according to the report. "[This medical debt] compromises patients’ health and financial security, harms their credit scores, and can even limit a patient’s housing, job, and health opportunities." Alarming Medical Debt among Texans of Color The median medical debt in collections owed in Texas is $850. Texans of color owe slightly more at $875. ...

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Study: Just Being a Minority Can Worsen Your Mental Health


young latina stress depression

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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Does Your State Ban Salary History Inquiries?


salary history ban

Inequities in pay follow women from job to job. Employers that request an applicant’s salary history─a long-time standard practice to set compensation for new-hires─perpetuate these gender pay inequities. “Relying on salary history allows a new employer to continue underpaying a woman who faced a pay gap and lost wages due to bias or discrimination at a previous job,” according to a 2018 report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). One method to close the gender pay gap is to ban employers from relying on previous or current salary information when setting pay for new employees. Closing the gender pay gap is good for physical, mental and social health. However, less than half of states have such bans. Find out which places have banned salary ...

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Down Syndrome and its Startling Impact on Latinos: A Closer Look


down syndrome hispanic latino boy via the rio grande down syndrome network

Down syndrome affects all race and ethnicity groups, with 1 in 700 U.S. babies born with Down syndrome every year and 1 in 1,200 children and adults currently living with this condition, according to federal data. But did you know that Latinos have an unusually higher risk for Down syndrome? For instance, in Texas, Latinos had the highest number of Down Syndrome births when compared to other race/ethnicity groups. October is Down Syndrome Awareness month. This is a good time to discuss Down syndrome knowledge, disparities, and support for Latino families. What Is the Risk of Down Syndrome for Latinos? Down syndrome is a genetic disorder where a person has three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. However, the exact cause is unknown. "In a process called non-disjunction, ...

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Study: Mexican Teens Have Alarming Addiction to Mobile Devices


latino mexican teens mobile device addiction distraction

More teens in Mexico feel distracted and addicted to their mobile devices than in other countries, according to a new study. With 67% of the U.S. Latino population hailing from Mexico or having Mexican heritage, this addiction could complicate life here, too, say researchers from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Common Sense. “Parents today are facing unprecedented challenges navigating both their children’s and their own mobile device use," said USC Annenburg Dean Willow Bay, in a news release. "We’re seeing that in Mexico, for example, over half of parents feel their teen’s mobile device use has negatively impacted family meals, conversations and activities.” The New Normal: Parent, Teens, and Mobile Devices in Mexico The study surveyed more ...

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