Study: ‘Fit for the Lord’—How Churches Can Join Battle against Obesity


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Editor’s Note: This is a 20-part series featuring new research briefs on Latino childhood obesity, nutrition, physical activity and more by the 20 grantees of Salud America! Part 1 is Dr. Meizi He. Find all briefs here.

Dr. Meizi He

Dr. Meizi He
“Latino Faith-Based Communities’ Perspective on Childhood Obesity”

In her Salud America! pilot research project, Dr. Meizi He of the University of Texas at San Antonio conducted interviews and focus groups among church leaders and congregations to gather their insights on childhood obesity.

Key preliminary findings include:

  • Latino church leaders and members perceived a link between faith and health;
  • obesity-prevention efforts should be culturally sensitive; and
  • there are perceived financial, environmental, cultural and lifestyle barriers to obesity-prevention programs in faith-based settings.

Latino faith-based leaders are aware of and willing to address childhood obesity among their congregations. The preliminary results of this study highlight the need for obesity prevention among Latino children and reveal the strong potential of a faith-based community as a venue and infrastructure for implementing effective obesity-prevention strategies.

Read more here. Watch a KENS-TV report about the study:

Salud America! is an RWJF national program directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.

By The Numbers By The Numbers



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

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