Food Insecurity Linked to Rise of Fatty Liver Disease in Latino Children

Childhood cases of fatty liver disease have risen over the last decade, prompting researchers to search for answers in risk factors such as genes, birthweight, and malnutrition. While studies involving adults that have fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis and food insecurity have been conducted, few focused on children — until now. A recent study assessed the influence food insecurity – living without enough food for a healthy life for all family members – on the development of fatty liver disease in 4-year-old Latino children, and discovered that food-insecure Latino children experienced a higher risk for the disease. Results of the Fatty Liver Disease Study The study involved two groups of San Francisco Latino mothers and followed their child’s development from pregnancy ...

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What Are the 5 Principles of Obesity Care?

obesity care week 2024 latino hispanic man food

Obesity Care Week 2024 (#ObesityCareWeek) is here! From March 4-8, 2024, Obesity Care Week is an annual public awareness effort to end weight bias, as well as raise awareness, educate and advocate for a better world for people living with obesity. Also, World Obesity Day is March 4, 2024. Our Salud America! Latino health equity team at UT Health San Antonio is happy to serve as an Obesity Care Week Champion to support this awareness week. "Unlike most other diseases, obesity is one that continues to be stigmatized. Those impacted struggle to receive any care in many cases, let alone adequate care," said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio and a leading health disparities researcher. Salud America! research has found that U.S. Latinos face ...

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Study: Severe Obesity Rates in Low-Income Latino Children Are Rising

Latino children accounted for the highest increase in severe obesity among preschool-aged children from low-income households, a new CDC study found. The study examined children aged 2 to 4 under the enrollment of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which is a federal nutrition assistance program aimed at providing healthy foods for low-income women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum, and children up to 5 years old, from 2010 to 2020. When the study began in 2010, 2.1% of children aged 2 to 4 in WIC were severely obese. A downward trend in severe obesity occurred for the next several years, when rates in that age group went from 2.1% in 2010 to 1.8% in 2016, the CDC study found. However, by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number spiked back up to 2% in ...

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4 Factors that Increase Summer Obesity Risk in Latino Children

childhood summer obesity

During the summer months children are at a higher risk of obesity, according to the American Heart Association. This is concerning considering obesity rates are already sky-high in young Latino boys (30%) and girls (23%). But what exactly causes this increased risk for obesity during the summer? Let’s explore four factors that contribute to weight gain in Latino children during the summer and how we can break this cycle of poor health into the new school year and beyond. Increased Sedentary Behavior During the school year, households operate around a steady flow of activities, like school sports, that help keep children active. During the summer, children may lose access to school-related activities that promote exercise. That’s why visiting parks, lakes, and hiking ...

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Brain Scans Reveal What May Drive Obesity in Men, Women

Latino couple on video call.

Obesity can stem from genetics, food and activity, and social and environmental inequities. We also know from past research that brain structure and mental function are linked to being overweight or obese. Now a new study has identified differences in the brain’s neural pathways that help explain differences in obesity among men and women. “In women with obesity, changes in the brain tended to be centered on regions related to emotions, while in men with obesity, the changes tended to be found in regions that play a role in gut sensations, such as how hungry or full a person feels,” according to NBC News. For this study, researchers from the Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center at UCLA studied brain scans – along with participants’ reports of their behavioral and mental ...

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South Texas Scientists Link Obesity to Alzheimer’s Gene

Tape measure and scale

Researchers from UT Health San Antonio have tied obesity to with 21 Alzheimer’s disease-related genes. In analyzing 74 Alzheimer’s-related genes from the Framingham Heart Study, researchers found that 21 of them were either under-expressed or over-expressed in obesity. “Several of the genes were more strongly related to obesity in midlife versus in late life, and also to obesity in women versus men,” said Dr. Claudia Satizabal, study lead author and assistant professor of population health sciences at UT Health San Antonio. Alzheimer’s Genes Linked to Obesity The UT Health San Antonio study also found 13 Alzheimer’s-related genes were associated with body mass index (BMI) and eight genes associated with a second metric of obesity called waist-to-hip ratio. “Those ...

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4 Ways to Eliminate Childhood Obesity

Latino students enjoying lunch.

Childhood obesity is not only common for U.S. children, it’s a global epidemic. How can communities address this issue? A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Meeting the Moment: Learning From Leaders at the Forefront of Change, asked community leaders and researchers to share their experiences in hopes of better understanding and preventing childhood obesity. “It is you who get out there every day and innovate, renovate, and motivate the field to keep going, keep trying, keep striving,” said Jamie Bussel, senior program officer for the RWJF. Let’s explore four key areas community leaders can eliminate childhood obesity! 1. Improve Health Data Accurate health data is important. For instance, we know Latino adults have higher obesity rates ...

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Isabella Jimenez Brings ‘My Fun Food’ to Your Phone, Kitchen

Isabella Jimenez is a Latina on a mission for health. At age 12, she had an idea for an app that serves as a digital cookbook where young people can learn to cook easy, healthy recipes and find tips in trivia games. She worked hard preparing recipes, creating and testing an app, and securing funding. At age 16, she launched the My Fun Food app. Now age 18, Isabella is an entrepreneur studying business at UT Austin and taking the My Fun Food app – which has a 5.0 rating in the Apple Store – to new levels. “The main purpose of the app is to provide a resource to the community,” Isabella said. “All the recipes are cost efficient, fast and quick, and easy to make.” Let’s explore what’s new since the last time Salud America! caught up with Isabella! Isabella: ...

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Reframing Childhood Obesity Through a Cultural Lens

Latino family eating dinner.

In the last few years, childhood obesity has become a global epidemic. The effort to change individual choices – like diet and physical activity – hasn’t solved the problem, and also contributes to weight discrimination. That is why we need to use cultural insights, nutritional science, and a systemic focus to improve child health, according to a new report from the Vanderbilt University Cultural Context of Health and Wellbeing Initiative. “What we label ‘obesity’ is produced by interrelated systems in which human biology interacts with environments, social norms, economic structures, and historical legacies,” according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation blog post about the report, Reframing Childhood Obesity: Cultural Insights on Nutrition, Weight and Food ...

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