Study: Latino Youth Perceive Their Weight Problems; Parents, Grandparents Don’t


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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 3 is Dr. Cristina Barroso. Find all briefs here.

Dr. Cristina Barroso

Dr. Cristina Barroso
“Body Image and Childhood Obesity in Mexican-Americans”

In her Salud America! pilot research project, Dr. Cristina Barroso of The University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, examined body image perceptions across three generations of low-income Latinos in South Texas, and studied the association between body image and physical activity in the same population.

For the study, families viewed sketches of body shapes and body sizes and to select images they perceive as healthy, as well as the image that most resembles their own body. Parents and grandparents also select the image that resembles their child/grandchild.

Key preliminary findings include:

  • most youth in this group believe they have a weight problem: that they are either underweight or overweight; and
  • most parents in this group do not believe their children have a weight problem.

This study suggests that Mexican-American youth have very different perceptions of overweight and obesity than their parents and grandparents, indicating that there may be generational differences in perceptions of ideal body size and what is considered overweight.

Read more here.

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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