Latino Cities Set to Tackle Obesity, Mental Health


Share On Social!

Latino communities are getting help to tackle obesity and mental illness, thanks to $5 million in new grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH).

The money is for 15 local groups from across the country.

The groups will use the money to drive solutions among Latino and other minority populations that suffer higher burdens of obesity, mental illness, and opioid addiction.

“We selected the opioid crisis, childhood obesity and serious mental illness as our top three clinical priorities at HHS because they are three of the country’s most pressing public health concerns,” said Dr. Tom Price, HHS leader, in a news release.

Who Will Help Latinos?

The 15 groups include several in Latino-populated areas:

  • Mariposa Community Health Center, Inc. in Nogales, AZ (92.7% Latino population)
  • California State University Long Beach Research Foundation in Long Beach, CA (42.01%)
  • The University of Chicago in Chicago, IL (29.09%)
  • The Community Clinic, Inc. in Silver Spring, MD (28.81%)
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg, TX (87.73%)
  • Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI (17.98%)

Mariposa provides a patient-centered health care home that ensures access to culturally appropriate, primary care and community-based education regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

“We facilitate access to specialty care and provide services and programs that respond to community/patient needs and encourage individual responsibility for one’s health,” according to their website.

Targeting the Issues

Latinos have the highest rates of childhood obesity and they suffer serious mental health issues.

Language, finances, housing, food access, low education and low-wage jobs are obstacles that prevent many Latinos from obtaining the best healthcare possible.

“Communities throughout the country are struggling to meet the serious and urgent challenges posed by … the effects of childhood obesity and serious mental illness,” said Dr. Matthew Lin, deputy assistant secretary for minority health and director of the OMH.

The new money is “designed to help communities meet these critical public health challenges by supporting collaborations at the local level that will lead to community-based solutions.”

Read more about what the government can do for Latino health:

By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latinos remain without health insurance coverage

Share your thoughts