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UC Merced Project Aims To Tackle Breast Cancer Among Young Latinas


The Central Valley has some of the highest rates of obesity in California, especially among Latinos. Health officials say this puts Latinas at a greater risk of developing and dying from breast cancer. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on a new project hoping to tackle this issue.

The UC Merced project hopes to learn how to better communicate healthy eating messages to young Latinas with the goal of reducing their risk of breast cancer.

Susana Ramirez is leading the project. She says reaching Latinas from 18-29 can be a challenge, since many identify more with English than Spanish.

“We’re not getting the messages to these people that we think that we’re communicating with Latinos in Spanish only,” she says. “But we’re missing a huge portion of them. They just don’t identify with the general marketing messages there’s something that’s not gluing them in like “this is for you.”

Ramirez says if the messages are effective, they’ll have a higher chance of improving their eating habits. Researchers say this can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and can also set new eating habits for families.

The project is expected to last until 2020. 

Diana Aguilera is a multimedia reporter native of Santiago, Chile. It was during her childhood in Santiago where her love for journalism sparked. Diana moved to Fresno while in her teens and is a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno. While earning her degree in journalism and minor in Latin American studies, Diana worked for the Fresno Bee. Her work as a general assignment reporter continued after college and was recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2014, she joined Valley Public Radio. Her hobbies include yoga, traveling and reading.