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The dangers facing the health of our Hispanic children ... And what you can do!

Los peligros que enfrenta la salud de nuestros niños hispanos... ¡Y lo que puedes hacer!

Our children are our lives. We want them to be well prepared, to be successful and to be proud of who they are, as well as their culture.

In addition to our strengths, we must also be aware of the specific health challenges, which we face right now. If we tackle these problems, from now on, we can help to guide our young people towards long-term health.

Obesity

Did you know that Hispanic adults are 20 percent more likely to suffer from obesity than non-Hispanic white adults? (1)Obesity is a worrying trend because it can start a serious disease chain.

The most worrying thing is that our children are already running a higher risk. Obesity among Hispanic children ages 6 to 11 is twice as high as in non-Hispanic white children, and four times higher among Hispanic children ages 2 to 4.(2)

We can already see the effects of obesity on our children. Hispanic children who are obese have a higher incidence of carotid intimal thickness (CIMT).(3) It measures the thickness of the walls of the vessels in the carotid artery, which may indicate a risk of heart disease if not treated appropriately.

Diabetes

Young Hispanics are more likely to have glucose deregulation, meaning it's harder for their bodies to regulate blood sugar. This is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.(4)

It is important to teach our children early on the operation of blood sugar, to help prevent them from developing diabetes. In the United States, 12.5% of Hispanic adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared to just 7.5% of white adults.(5)

Mental health

Our concern, well intentioned, for the physical health of our children can sometimes divert attention from another concern, also urgent, such as mental health.

Hispanic children and teens are more likely to experience depression and suicidal thoughts than white children.

In 2019, Hispanic girls from ninth to 12th grade attempted to take their own lives by 30% more than white non-Hispanic girls, from the same age group. What's more concerning is that young Hispanics are less likely, than young whites, to receive adequate mental health care.(6)

How can you help?

We say it constantly in Santo Remedio, the hard thing is to do it alone and the easiest thing is to do it together. Little by little we will educate ourselves, first of all as parents, so that we can educate our children. Remember that the mission is for your family to have a healthier lifestyle.

Prioritizes family meal time and exercise

At meal time you can encourage healthy eating and, at the same time, take advantage of these moments to establish a connection. These meetings at the table are ideal for sharing, listening, and exchanging information about the physical and mental health of your loved ones.

Exercise is an important pillar for controlling weight, but its positive effects go further. Physical activity and participation in sports improve children's mental health.

Promotes food in a conscious way

Teach them to eat more slowly and especially to listen to their bodies. When you begin to feel full explain that you are fine to stop eating, so be a little food on the plate or in the lunch tray.

It offers healthy meals at home and avoids making comments about your child's body or weight. When you're wondering about the changes you're making, you can tell them you want the whole family to work together to be healthy and strong.

Removes sugary drinks

Soft drinks, sweetened tea, energy drinks and other sugary drinks are responsible for the most empty calories (calories that don't provide nutrition) and the most added sugar in our children's diet.(7) Avoid serving these drinks at home. Better explain what added sugar and empty calories mean, so they can make better decisions for themselves.

Protects your sleep

Studies have shown that insufficient sleep and obesity are correlated. Having a constant sleep schedule with enough hours, helps children establish good metabolic health. Also, getting enough sleep is associated with better mental health in teens.(8)

Teens need to sleep more than you might think, which is a challenge because at this stage it's when their extracurricular tasks and activities typically increase. Keep in mind that 57% of high school students, and 72% of high school students don't get enough sleep. Children ages 13 to 18 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.(9)

Help them relax with ashwagandha or Tea of Passiflora before going to bed and encourage them to schedule their time in front of the screen, to finish a few hours before they go to sleep.

Evaluates your nutrition

Examine your children's daily diet. Are they getting enough calcium? What about the probiotics to protect your gut health and immune system? Since fatty fish are not usually the daily food of our children, notice if they are consuming enough omega 3 fatty acids. The omega 3 has a positive effect on risk factors for heart disease(10), depression, anxiety (11) and the metabolic syndrome (12).

Taking care of our children can be overwhelming. But together we can make steady progress and prepare them for a life full of good health.

Let's be healthier, together.

Your friends Santo Remedio

References

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Obesity and Hispanic Americans. Accessed at https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=70

[2] Isasi, C. R., Rastogi, D., & Molina, K. (2016). Health Issues in Hispanic/Latino Youth. Journal of Latina/o psychology, 4 (2), 67-82. https://doi.org/10.1037/lat0000054

[3] Toledo-Corral, C. M., Ventura, E. E., Hodis, H. N., Weigensberg, M. J., Lane, C. J., Li, Y., & Goran, M. I. (2009). Persistence of the metabolic syndrome and its influence on carotid artery intimate media thickness in overweight Latino children. Atherosclerosis, 206 (2), 594-598. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.03.013

[4] Marcus, M. D., Baranowski, T., DeBar, L. L., Edelstein, S., Kaufman, F. R., Schneider, M., Siega-Riz, A. M., Staten, M. A., Virus, A., & Yin, Z. (2010). Severe obesity and selected risk factors in a sixth grade multiracial cohort: the HEALTHY study. The Journal of adolescent health: official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 47 (6), 604-607. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.04.017

[5] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Diabetes and Hispanic Americans. Accessed at https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=63

[6] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Mental Health and Behavior-Hispanic. Accessed at https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=69

[7] Poti, J. M., Slining, M. M., & Popkin, B. M. (2014). Where are kids getting their empty calories? Stores, schools, and fast-food restaurants each played an important role in empty calorie intake among US children during 2009-2010. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114 (6), 908-917. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2013.08.012

[8] Hosker, D. K., Elkins, R. M., & Potter, M. P. (2019). Promoting Mental Health and Wellness in Youth Through Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Sleep. Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America, 28 (2), 171-193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chc.2018.11.010

[9] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep in Middle and High School Students. Accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/features/students-sleep.htm

[10] Peter, S., Chopra, S., & Jacob, J. J. (2013). A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away!-A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 17 (3), 422-429. https://doi.org/10.4103/2230-8210.111630

[11] Lin, P. Y., & Su, K. P. (2007). A meta-analytic review of double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 68 (7), 1056-1061. https://doi.org/10.4088/jcp.v68n0712

[12] Ebrahimi, M., Ghayour-mobarhan, M., Rezaiean, S., Hoseini, M., Parizade, S. M., Farhoudi, F., Hosseininezhad, S. J., Tavallaei, S., Vexdani, A., Azimi-Nezhad, M., Shakeri, M. T., Rad, M. A., Mobarra, N., Kazemi-Bajestani, S. M., & Ferns, G. A. (2009). Omega-3 fatty acid supplements improve the cardiovascular risk profile of subjects with metabolic syndrome, including markers of inflammation and self-immunity. Cardiology act, 64 (3), 321-327. https://doi.org/10.2143/AC.64.3.2038016

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