SAN ANTONIO -

Salud America! -- a national research network -- reports finding junk food ads on Spanish-language media are targeting Hispanic youth more and more.

"The Latino market is growing. One in three in the population are going to be Latinos and so this is a new venue for them,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, the director of Salud America! that is based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center.

Ramirez said an animated video has been produced as part of a campaign to help counter the unhealthy choices being marketed to those who should avoid them.

“This is going to be the first generation that’s not going to outlive their parents,” Ramirez said.

She said almost 40 percent of Hispanics between the ages of two and 19 are overweight.

“They’re being diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes a lot earlier. Lives are being compromised,” Ramirez said.

She said parents are urged to be more vigilant about what their children are eating, and to learn about the healthy options that are available.

“Just drinking more water and really consuming more fruits and vegetables is really what we need to do,”

Ramirez said.

She said the Salud America! website has the animated video and a graphic that offer helpful advice.

Ramirez also said much more can be learned from materials found in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children.

She said the research and community awareness could lead to additional industry self-regulation or governmental regulation.

Ramirez said the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to Hispanic youth is “a public health problem in need of policy solutions.”