“Abriendo Caminos—Clearing the Path”
This Salud America! pilot research project takes a family-based approach—accounting for developmental patterns of behavior and practices in early mealtime experiences. The goal is to prevent childhood obesity and promote wellbeing among Spanish-speaking families in non-metropolitan communities in Illinois, a state which has experienced two-fold growth of Latino families over the past 10 years. Abriendo Caminos assumes that sustainable health promotion requires building on existing family strengths. The program seeks to build positive connections between healthy habits and family life to promote healthy eating and joint physical activity, preserve family traditions, and build stronger relationships between Latino children and their parents. The 6-week curriculum actively involves Latino families in food preparation, shared physical activity emphasizing culturally-tailored elements, and shared mealtimes featuring family storytelling and scrapbooking.