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As the percentage of Latinos among U.S. children ages 18 or younger surges (rising from 17% in 1998 to 22% today to a projected 30% by 2025), Mexican-American children ages 2-19 have strikingly higher obesity rates than their white counterparts.
Evidence-based, culturally adapted approaches are critically needed to spur policy changes and reverse the obesity epidemic among Latino children.
In response, Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children has developed an online network of nearly 2,000 Latino childhood obesity researchers, academics, community leaders, etc. The network is led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The network also has:
- developed and published the first-ever Latino Childhood Obesity Research Priority Agenda;
- built the field of Latino researchers by funding through RWJF 20 pilot research projects to identify the most promising obesity-prevention strategies tailored for Latino communities;
- developed three research briefs on Latino nutrition, physical activity and social marketing and 20 pilot investigator research briefs to contribute novel evidence on Latino childhood obesity; and
- raised national awareness about the epidemic through social media, e-communications, scientific summits and dramatic videos.