Latina Mom and Baby Health Research: Future Research

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This is part of our Latina Mom and Baby Health: A Research Review »

Future research needs

Childhood obesity continues to be an ongoing epidemic in the U.S., especially among Latino youths.

While many of the potential policies and interventions discussed in this review have been investigated in the literature in low-income or WIC-enrolled populations, many have not been thoroughly investigated directly in Latino populations.

In order to further support the policy implications described herein, it will be important for investigators to provide further clinical evidence that these approaches are capable of affecting positive changes in childhood obesity endpoints in Latino infants and preschool-aged children.

Future studies are particularly needed in the areas of paid parental leave and pre-delivery strategies, as few reports investigating the impact of these factors among Latino populations are presently available in the literature. In addition, the affect of recent WIC policy updates on Latina mothers, infants, and toddlers will also be of immediate interest in the coming years.

There also is a strong body of evidence to suggest that childcare environments may be an optimal setting for incorporating interventions to promote healthy eating and physical activity behaviors among Latino youths and to educate parents on how to continue incorporating these strategies at home; additional investigations will be necessary to further support the impact of such interventions on obesity rates in Latino youths.

As evidenced by the key concepts outlined in this review, many factors work contribute to childhood obesity. Targeting barriers and facilitators along this pathway, such as breastfeeding or establishing healthy habits during childcare, can lead to direct and indirect effects on obesity rates among Latino youths.

Continued efforts to investigate these correlations and promote relevant policy changes to address them will be essential to overcoming the childhood obesity epidemic and improving the number of Latino youths who enter kindergarten at a healthy weight.

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By The Numbers By The Numbers

22

percent

of Latino youth have depressive symptoms, more than any other group besides Native American youth

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