A recent story in the McAllen Monitor explains how the Latino Nutrition Coalition is advocating the return to traditional cultural foods as a method to combat the obesity epidemic in the United States. The supermarket guide produced by the Latino Nutrition Coalition, Camino Mágico, is a visual guide that can help consumers make healthier choices while shopping. In Spanish, it explains how to read nutrition labels as well as providing ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Spanish Language Content
Obesity: is the answer a return to traditional foods?
Para los de la Tercera Edad
The Spanish language uses a unique expression of respect and appreciation to refer to seniors — it refers to them as being of “la Tercera Edad” (“the Third Age”), i.e. what follows childhood and middle-age.
Here’s something new para los de la Tercera Edad: the US National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, now offers accurate, up-to-date information on health issues affecting Hispanic seniors, online and in Spanish. The new Spanish-language content, located at http://www.nia.nih.gov/Espanol/, is designed to be user-friendly and wide-ranging, including tips on choosing a doctor and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as information on diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes.
Play Brings Pesticide Risk Awareness to Farmworkers
EPA Region 6 has published an interactive humorous play designed to increase safety awareness for individuals who work in areas that are treated with pesticides. The play, called “El Moscas” y los Pesticidas was written by a former migrant worker, Mr. Nephtalí De León, with input from federal, state and health agencies that have a shared interest in providing and communicating information about pesticide awareness.
The play was performed on Saturday, October 23, 2010 by migrant and seasonal farmworker students from the Children in the Fields Campaign’s Pan American Texas Youth Council before an audience of over 700 community members at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, in San Juan, TX.
To view the script, and to get more information about “El Moscas” y los Pesticidas, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region6/water/beyondtranslation/2009/elmoscas.html
Póngase al día con su salud en MedlinePlus
In June, NLM released a public campaign to try to encourage Spanish-speaking Web users in the US and worldwide to use medlineplus.gov/salud. The campaign’s tagline is “Póngase al día con su salud en MedlinePlus” (“Get up to date on your health with MedlinePlus”) and it features a superstar who is instantly recognizable across Latin America: Chilean TV host Mario Kreutzberger, better known as Don Francisco. Don Francisco is the Emmy-award-winning host of the longest-running TV show in the Americas: Sábado Gigante, which he created in Chile in 1962 and which has continued weekly for many years across the US on the Univisión network and throughout Latin America on Galavisión. His campaign for NLM and MedlinePlus includes videos, posters, bookmarks, and calling cards — all available for free download and distribution from MedlinePlus. You can view the videos and learn more about the campaign in English or in Spanish, and download the (bilingual) campaign materials here.
Preparing for Flu Season
Flu shot clinics and awareness campaigns are just around the corner. The CDC has free flu materials available for download. These free downloads focus on outreach to high-risk groups, including caregivers and parents of infants, parents of children with asthma and diabetes, adults who live with at-risk seniors, and include Spanish language materials emphasizing protecting the family.
To be prepared for Flu season, the American Lung Association has a Find a Flu Shot online tool. Many local flu shot clinics are are already listed.
Search for health care leading Texans to Mexico
The Dallas Morning News and its Spanish-language sister Al Dia TX both recently published a very interesting story about US patients seeking care in Mexican hospitals — not just for “medical tourism” but even for emergency care. The article mentions that a bill considered in the Texas Lege this year would have allowed US insurers to cover services inside Mexico for Texans living within 75 miles of the border. The bill didn’t make it out of committee, but it’s just another sign that legislators — like even the hospital administrators quoted in the article — see treatment in Mexico as one way to address rising healthcare and insurance costs and continued high numbers of uninsured Texans.
As we look to the future, will one of our upcoming health information challenges in South Texas be to help US patients understand and safely navigate their healthcare options in Mexico?
Some folk remedies have extremely high lead content
This recent article from the Brownsville Herald took an AP report regarding high lead content of certain folk remedies, and combined it with local reporting on sources of lead poisoning in the Valley. The article centered on a specific incident in Houston to report on several dangerous folk remedies which all contain extremely high levels of lead, including:
- A generally Mexican folk remedy called greta, a yellow or bright orange powder that may be mixed with olive oil when given to treat diarrhea or stomach upset (“empacho“)
- Another generally Mexican folk remedy called azarcón (also known as coral, maría luisa, rueda, alarcón or liga), a orange powder which may also be mixed with olive oil and given to treat stomach ailments like empacho
- A generally Dominican folk remedy called litargirio, a yellow or peach-colored powder traditionally used for a variety of purposes including as a deodorant, foot fungicide, and burn or wound treatment
- A number of ayurvedic remedies common in South Asian immigrant communities, including ghasard and mahayogaraj gugullu
According to the article, nearly 20% of lead poisoning cases in Harris County are blamed on traditional medicines.
Although Brownsville Herald reporter Melissa McEver was unable to find any local retail stores that acknowledged selling greta or azarcón, the national version of the story (see this version from the AP) reported that Harris County investigators had found that some storekeepers would keep such remedies “behind the counter,” bringing them out only for known customers. McEver did, however, quote a Region 11 DSHS official who indicated that pottery and ceramic dishes were found to be a source in many local cases of lead poisoning.
Spanish-Language Health Resources
The Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown recently announced a new knowledge path with links to Spanish-language resources, including web sites, publications and health hot-lines.
Spot the Block
Some of the more recent efforts in the promotion of health literacy focus on the use of food labels for nutritional information. This would seem to be a simple method for consumers to make informed nutritional decisions. Consumers, however, often do not or cannot use food lables to full advantage. For some ‘food for thought’, check out the newly redesigned website for the National Agricultural Library’s Food Nutrition Center (FNIC). The site has a wealth of information and visual aids to assist consumers in getting the most out of reading food labels. The site also features a program to promote food label reading called Spot the Block. Although aimed at teens, the program and materials could be adapted for other ages as well.
There is even a health literacy assessment tool, available in English and Spanish, based on an ice cream nutrition label. Named the Newest Vital Sign (NVS), the tool poses six questions that test the ability of an individual to read and use the information on the label to make health related nutritional decisions. Take the test and see what you think!
State of Texas Launches New Disaster Planning and Preparedness Website
The Texas Department of State Health Services has launched a new Website, “Ready or Not? Have a Plan,” designed to help Texans prepare for emergencies such as hurricanes, wildfires, terrorist attacks, and disease outbreaks. As part of the awareness campaign, the State of Texas encourages businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and others to co-brand, distribute and display these materials by providing prepared campaign materials.