Celebra Hispanic Health Festival Brings Innovative Education Exhibits/Free Medical Screenings to San...

Celebra Hispanic Health Festival Brings Innovative Education Exhibits/Free Medical Screenings to San Antonio Hispanics in Effort to Curb Disproportionate Rates of Illness

New Exhibit on Alzheimer's & Hispanics Unveiled in San Antonio


SAN ANTONIO, June 27 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Celebra La Vida Con Salud, the largest national Hispanic health education tour dedicated exclusively to addressing major illnesses disproportionately impacting Latinos, stopped in San Antonio today providing health information and free medical screenings for cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, and HIV/AIDS to San Antonio area Hispanics in an effort to help improve their overall health status.

Featuring interactive, culturally relevant health exhibits that engage festival participants, Celebra builds awareness about illnesses affecting Latinos at higher rates than the general population. Celebra educates them about specific actions they can take to improve their family’s health.

“There is no inherent reason why Hispanics should suffer higher rates of incidence of these major illnesses,” said Carmen Ramos-Watson, Executive Director of Celebra La Vida Con Salud. “By providing comprehensive, culturally adapted health information in a festive atmosphere, Celebra provides tangible solutions that help Hispanics live healthier.”

At the Celebra festival in San Antonio, a new Alzheimer’s awareness exhibit demonstrated the distinction between normal aging memory loss and that associated with Alzheimer’s. It provided local resources available to assist people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, the exhibit also included Brain Games for memory stimulation, tips for preventing adult type 2 diabetes which may be related to the development of Alzheimer’s, and a video about living with and caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s. The video is hosted by Univision telenovela star Maria Elena Salinas. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the onset of Alzheimer’s occurs an average of seven years earlier among Latinos than non-Hispanic white Americans and the rate of Alzheimer’s is projected to increase 600% among Hispanics by 2050.

“Latinos are twice as likely as the general population to be living in multigenerational households that include grandparents(1),” said Belinda Benavidez, Program Specialist with the Alzheimer’s Association STAR Chapter in San Antonio. “The Alzheimer’s Association is constantly looking to improve the lives of those living with the disease and their families. We have proactively developed resources that provide necessary education.”

Another major exhibit at the Celebra festival is the HPV/Cervical Cancer zone that educates women and men about the causes, treatment and prevention of the human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer. The death rate from cervical cancer is 50% higher among Hispanic women than among non-Hispanic white women. Sponsored by Merck & Co., Inc., this exhibit presents an interactive Cantahistoria mural presentation, Loteria (BINGO) game, personal testimony of cervical cancer survivors, and connects women to local clinics with prevention and treatment resources. Surveys conducted during last year’s Celebra health tour indicated a 30 percent or higher increase in knowledge about HPV and cervical cancer among festival attendees who participated in the exhibit.

As the largest and fastest growing minority group in the U.S., Hispanics represent approximately 14% of the current population, yet suffer disproportionately high rates of preventable illnesses and diseases:

— Heart disease is the number one killer of Hispanic men and women.

— Hispanics represent approximately 18% of new AIDS diagnoses. The rate of HIV is 3 times higher for Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites. Hispanic women have 5 times the AIDS rate as do white non-Hispanic women.

— Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women

— By age three, 26% of Hispanics are obese.

— The incidence of diabetes among Hispanics is 64% higher than non-Hispanic Americans.

Now in its seventh year, Celebra La Vida Con Salud is a comprehensive national health education and awareness campaign that effectively reaches the underserved U.S. Hispanic population through its on-the-ground health festival tour, on-air radio and television health education component, on-line information campaign and on-going community outreach efforts. Private, public sector, media and community-based partners and sponsors join together in the execution of the Celebra festival. In addition to the Alzheimer’s Association and Merck & Co., Inc., major partners of the Celebra campaign and festival tour include the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, American Red Cross, Nike, and CardioChek. Local San Antonio health care partners include Christus Santa Rosa Health Care, Alamo Health Institute, CentroMed and CommuniCare.

Celebra is also supported by the San Antonio Express-News. “Conexion and Cancha are committed to informing our readers about health issues affecting Hispanics,” said Dino Chiecchi, editor of Hispanic publications for the San Antonio Express-News. “Unfortunately, some afflictions occur in disproportionate numbers among Hispanics, and we devote a great deal of space to writing about how to improve one’s health and treat diabetes, obesity and high-blood pressure, among other health issues.”

The Celebra La Vida Con Salud 2008 festival tour will continue to Boston, New York, San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami. For more information about the Celebra campaign and sponsorship opportunities visit www.celebralavida.com

1. US Census Bureau, Census 2000

Celebra Hispanic Health Festival Brings Innovative Education Exhibits/Free Medical Screenings to San Antonio Hispanics in Effort to Curb Disproportionate Rates of Illness