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Source: National Council of La Raza Profiles of Latino Health: A Closer Look at Latino Child Nutrition
More than a third of Hispanic families with children in this country suffer from food insecurity. Meaning 32.1% of Hispanic heads of families are, at times, unsure they will be able or are unable to acquire enough food for all members of the household due to insufficient money and resources for food.
For some households with very low food insecurity, “one or more children were also subject to reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns.” Hispanic children are more than four times as likely (2.7%) as non- Hispanic white children (.6%) to be living with this level of food insecurity. With Hispanic families experiencing some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the U.S.; Latino childrens’ healthy growth and development, scholastic success and mental health and well-being are at risk
Hispanics in 2008 had an average household income of $48,955 after taxes compared to $66,590 for non- Hispanic whites. Though Hispanics spend less than whites do overall, their average food spending represents a greater share of total household expenditures 15.3% compared with that of whites 12.5%. With larger average household sizes, and lower average median incomes, Hispanics are more at risk to be food insecure.
Consistently high rates of food insecurity among Latinos, have increased with the economic crisis. The cost of food rose, which caused a sharper increase in the share of food spending among Hispanics, a 6.5% increase between 2007 and 2008, more than double the change for non- Hispanics who experienced a rise of 3.2% in food spending.
A rise in household utility costs, such as energy and fuel costs, which make up a larger proportion of Hispanic expenditures, means cuts to discretionary costs. Food spending suffers further cuts and as a result Hispanics’ may spend too little to meet the nutritional needs of their family.
To see NCLR profiles of Latino health click here.
Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) has designed the El Cáncer Nos Afecta a Todos (Cancer Affects Everyone) campaign, specifically for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The campaign focuses on breast and colorectal cancer and consists of a combined “in the air” and “on the ground” outreach approach to improve Latino access to cancer prevention and early detection services and to work to eliminate barriers to prevention and screening.
This educational communications campaign will span five years, from 2009 to 2013, and include the development of an innovative scalable and cost-effective model for changing Latino attitudes and behaviors about cancer prevention awareness; forge a stronger link between community health service providers and Spanish-speaking Americans; increase U.S. Latino educational fluency about cancer prevention and early detection, and ultimately result in an increase in the number of Latinos being tested for cancer.
As part of this national campaign, HAF’s team launched a 5-week pilot campaign (El Cancer Nos Afecta A Todos) in the Denver metropolitan area on November 16, 2009 to inform and educate Spanish-dominant Latino’s about Colorectal cancer, prevention and early detection through a Spanish-language mass-media and community outreach activities in partnership with the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program, Consulado Mexicano de Denver, AVANCE Supermarkets, and the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
We are reaching the Latino audience through print, radio and television media along with workshops at community based churches. Members of the community who are uninsured and are interested in connecting with a primary health provider and learn if they are eligible for a colonoscopy at no cost to them are encouraged to contact us via telephone or email.
To find out more about the community centers that work in partnership with the Colorado Colorectal Screening Program (CCSP) in your area visit our service provider directory and type in your zipcode and the keyword cancer. For the latest information and research about cancer, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cancer Control resource center.
This document is taken from the President and CEO of NCLR, Janet Murguia’s presentation to the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry on The Effect of Food Insecurity in the Latino Community.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Hispanic household food insecurity rate (17.9%) is twice as high as the rate for non-Hispanic White households (8.2%), the most food secure.6
In addition, Latino households with children have even higher rates of food insecurity; 21.6% of these households experience food insecurity compared to 11.8% of similar White households. Because of the dearth of resources in many Latino households, their ability to make food purchases is restricted. While the typical non-Hispanic White U.S. household spends $45 per person each week for food, Hispanic households spend 25% less, just $33 weekly per person.7
A survey in the Journal of Nutrition found that some of the consequences of food insecurity include hunger pangs, fatigue, lack of concentration at school, low work capacity, stress, disrupted household dynamics, and distorted means of food acquisition and management. 9
Respondents to the survey reported depression, increased need for health care, and decreased participation in social activities. 10 Families will go to great lengths to keep their children from going hungry, which is why it is so alarming that many Latino children do not have adequate resources for a nutritious diet. Food insecure children are twice as likely to be in fair or poor health.11
Further, a survey of parents of low-income, young Latino children who are food insecure found that they are two times more likely to note developmental concerns, including risks of developmental delays or disabilities, than households with children who have adequate resources for food.12 Even small cognitive changes can have lasting impacts on a child s education. Even when a child experiences even mild levels of food insecurity, data suggest that school performance and social skills are comprised.13
The coping mechanisms associated within adequate food resources such as overeating when food is available, compromising the quality of food in order to consume higher quantities, and even skipping meals, which causes metabolic shifts can result in a higher propensity for weight gain. While food insecurity persists in the Latino community, there is also a rising trend of obesity. One recent study found that among Latino preschoolers children in the critical stages of growth nearly one-quarter (24.4%) were identified as obese.15
Food insecurity also has a broader impact on society. The increased risk for and severity of sickness and disease that results from food insecurity can create a demand for more physician time, extensive levels of treatment, and greater rates of hospitalization all of which require more money and resources. The health care costs associated with increased illness due to food insecurity not only fall on individuals who suffer from these effects, but ultimately add strain to the entire health care system.
There is also mounting evidence that the overweight and obesity trends in the United States are due, in part, to high levels of food insecurity.14
The educational benefits of participating in government assistance programs include contributing to families achieving a higher level of nutrition. Program participants are more likely than low income nonparticipants to lack confidence about their knowledge of good dietary practices and the quality of their diet. However, they benefit from nutrition education, which promotes consumption of healthier foods, a balanced diet, and physical activity. The results can be seen in the healthier choices they make in grocery stores.17 Further, the education of adult participants is likely to have lasting impact on the younger family members, encouraging children to make healthy choices in and outside of the household. Although it is difficult to establish a direct causal relationship between participation and health outcomes because of the added effects of the program on reducing poverty and improving socioeconomic status, data show that participants are able to make more deliberate choices that maximize the nutrition content of their food. In fact, despite rising obesity rates throughout the country for the population overall, women who
participated in the Food Stamp Program from 1999 to 2002 were less likely to be overweight and
were able to keep their weight relatively steady compared to nonparticipants.18
Document sampled from the House Committee on Agriculture website.
For more information on Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs visit: www.fns.usda.gov
MERIDA, Mexico -– In less than a generation, Mexicans have gone from a nation of relatively healthy people to a nation confronting an unprecedented health crisis: morbid obesity. The culprit? The NAFTA diet. Before the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, in 1994, Mexicans had a wholesome diet consisting of beans, tortillas, chicken and fruits and vegetables. These were prepared at home or in small restaurants called “fondas” (market stalls) by street vendors. Almost always, these meals were “slow food” -– soups, tacos, sauces and regional dishes were made from fresh ingredients, and prepared over the course of several hours. In the 15 years since NAFTA, however, Mexico has been “invaded” by globalized, highly processed foods served by such fast-food conglomerates as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.
The health crisis confronting Mexico is the rapid escalation in morbid obesity throughout society, affecting every demographic group in the nation, even the poorest. A survey by Mexico’s health ministry revealed that one in four Mexican children between the ages of five and 11 is morbidly obese. In a recent study, “Obesity: The Epidemic of the 21st Century,” health researcher Federico Siguero argues that “obesity is the most frequent illness among (Mexican) children, followed by diabetes. “If this trend continues, there will be no government (administration) that will have the resources to treat all of the obese (Mexicans), who will suffer from diabetes, hypertension or another complication,” he stated. This is reaffirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which now labels Mexico the nation with the second highest incidence of morbid obesity in the world, behind the United States. “Risk factors such as being overweight and obesity have increased (in Mexico) in all groups of society, mainly in urban areas, affecting 51.8 percent of women between the ages of 12 and 49 (60 percent in the northern part of the country) and 5.5 percent of children under five,” the WHO reported in its current country profile for Mexico.
The public health crisis precipitated by the change in the Mexican diet is causing alarm among politicians. Mexico is confronting an unprecedented strain on its national health system. According to the WHO, 67.9 percent of Mexican men and 68.4 percent of Mexican women are overweight. By comparison, 72.6 percent of American men and 75.6 percent of American women are overweight.
“In many rural communities,” Salazar added, “the government does not provide potable drinking water in the schools, and as a result, children end up drinking soft drinks instead.” Mexicans drink more soft drinks per capita than any other people in the world, except for Americans. “We must reduce the number of soft drinks consumed by children and at-risk adults,” added Jorge Quintero Bello, a legislator from the conservative PAN party. “IMSS (Mexico’s Health Ministry) must launch a comprehensive public education campaign.”
The change in the Mexican diet, however, is only one part of a complicated equation. In the course of implementing NAFTA, Mexico has sought greater coordination with both the United States and Canada. This has meant, among other things, aligning Mexican hours to the U.S. daylight and saving time changes, which, for a nation that lies closer to the equator, means more hours in school and at work. More importantly, Mexico, after a heated debate, officially abolished the siesta -– the traditional midday closing of businesses for three or four hours to allow people to go home and share meals with their families. As a consequence, working “9 to 5” means that home-prepared meals are for the majority of Mexicans a thing of the past, and the “super-sized” fast-food alternative is just around the corner.
Louis Nevaer is a contributor to NAM whose new book, “Managing Hispanic and Latino Employees,” will be published in December 2009.
To read the whole article click here.
Source: New America Media
Author: Louis E.V. Nevaer
Again and again, we hear that the Hispanic population is disproportionately beset by the bugbears of poverty, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and lack of access to quality health coverage and insurance.
These unfortunate facts are indisputable. But what many people don’t realize is that, when it comes to the bottom line — that is, mortality — the news for Hispanics is good. Very good.
In the United States, Hispanics, despite their socio-economic hurdles, on average live longer than blacks by seven years, and whites by five years, says Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, a professor of medicine at UCLA.
“There’s something about being Latino that is good for their health,” Hayes-Bautista told HispanicBusiness.com, adding wryly: “Just think if we had access to health care.”
Widely known as the “Hispanic Paradox,” the phenomenon was discovered and coined by researchers decades ago.
Now, Hayes-Bautista is on the front lines trying to figure out why this is so.
“There’s something going on here,” he said. “Is it diet, is it family, is it spiritual, is it the Latino mind-body balance? I don’t know.”
In 2007, the Public Policy Institute of California found that the average lifespan of a Hispanic man in that state is 77.5 years, compared to 75.5 among white males and 68.6 among black males. The lifespan of Hispanic men was topped only by Asian men, whose average lifespan came in at 80.4.
In 2008, the National Center for Health Statistics released a study showing that the overall mortality rate for Hispanics in 2006 was 550 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 778 for whites, and 1,001 for blacks.
Hayes-Bautista said that Hispanics in the United States are 35 percent less likely than whites to die of heart disease, and 40 percent less likely to develop cancer.
Immigration plays a factor, he said, albeit a small one.
Immigrants, he said, are far less likely than U.S. born Hispanics to smoke, drink, do drugs and contract sexually transmitted diseases. Similarly, he said, U.S.-born Hispanics with high levels of education also tend to avoid these high-risk behaviors and their consequences.
This might lead one to ask whether this means that Mexicans live healthier than Americans. Not so, according to the CIA World Factbook of 2008.
On that index, the life expectancy of Americans in 2008 reached 78 (a national record). For Mexicans, it was about 76.
However, Hayes-Bautista said the lifestyle in rural Mexico is much healthier than that of urban Mexico. What’s more, he says, the bulk of Hispanic immigrants in America hail from the rural pockets of Mexico.
Elena Rios, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, said overall, the immigrant Hispanics are younger, and abide by healthier habits, than U.S. born Hispanics.
“With the immigrants, the first generation has healthier habits: less driving, less smoking, less fast foods, more walking,” she told HispanicBusiness.com. “As the second-generation Hispanic families happen, they pick up the Western — the American — lifestyle.”
As a result, Rios said she wants any healthcare reform package to include an educational component urging Hispanics to get back to their basics, such as traditional foods.
“It is important to have more prevention and education when they are younger, before they get into bad habits,” she said.
To read the full article click here.
Author: Rob Kuznia