New Research Discovers Promising Approaches to Prevent Latino Childhood Obesity


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Guided grocery store trips, menu labeling at restaurants, community gardens, and video-game-based exercise programs are among several promising, culturally appropriate ways to prevent obesity among Latino children, according to a new collection of studies from Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children published in a supplement to the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Mother and daughter shopping for produceSalud America! is a national network of researchers, advocates, and policymakers established in 2007 that seeks environmental and policy solutions to Latino childhood obesity, an American epidemic.

The supplement focuses on Salud America! achievements in the past five years and features 19 papers of groundbreaking research on effective approaches for preventing/controlling Latino childhood obesity. The papers focus heavily on Latino culture, health, and policies in Latino communities across the nation.

Research among Latino communities, schools and families include these findings:

  • Education on nutritious food selection and a guided grocery store trip decreased the total number of calories per dollar spent, challenging the idea that buying healthy foods costs more.
  • Owners of small restaurants can improve access to healthy menu options and continue to publish calorie information on their menus.
  • Tending community gardens or attending nutrition/cooking workshops improved or maintained children’s body mass indices and increased the presence of fruits and vegetables in the home.
  • School educators can use active video games to increase cardiorespiratory endurance and math scores over time among students.

gaodancedanceThe supplement also features commentaries by a range of political and medical leaders—such as San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and Harvey V. Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine.

“This Salud America! supplement is the culmination of several years of diligence, passion, and hard work in identifying and examining the most promising policy-relevant strategies to reduce and prevent obesity among Latino children,” say supplement editors Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, MPH, director of Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Guadalupe X. Ayala, PhD, MPH, of San Diego State University. “In addition to fueling new research findings, Salud America! helped to increase the skills and experience of researchers working in the field, and further expand our national research network.”

View the full supplement here.

The supplement also will be highlighted in a research symposium at the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) annual meeting in Phoenix-Scottsdale, Feb. 20-23, 2013.

By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latino kids have obesity (compared to 11.7% of white kids)

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