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Latino youth obesity examined in new research briefs

Posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 · Volume: XLIV · Issue: 25


The comprehensive collection of research briefs, available through Salud America!, based at the UT Health Science Center’s Institute for Health Promotion Research, examines the obesity epidemic among Latino children and teens. Click on image for larger view.
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The comprehensive collection of research briefs, available through Salud America!, based at the UT Health Science Center’s Institute for Health Promotion Research, examines the obesity epidemic among Latino children and teens. Click on image for larger view.clear graphic

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Contact: Sheila Hotchkin,
210-567-3026

SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 9, 2011) — Salud America!, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has released a comprehensive collection of research briefs examining the obesity epidemic among Latino children and teens.

New national briefs review current evidence with respect to Latino youth in three major areas: the availability of healthy, affordable foods; opportunities for physical activity; and the impact of food marketing on diets and potentially even obesity rates.

Policy recommendations
These briefs also provide policy recommendations, including:
  • Efforts to bring healthy foods into neighborhoods and schools should particularly focus on Latino communities, since they are disproportionately affected by the epidemic.
  • Policies that can help people be physically active in their neighborhoods should emphasize Latino populations because they are more likely to live in areas that do not support such activity.
  • Efforts to reduce exposure to unhealthy food and beverage marketing should consider that Latino youth are particularly targeted by advertisers.
  • Health programs and messages should be culturally sensitive, relevant for all populations and produced in both English and Spanish.

Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Medicine of the UT Health Science Center, directs Salud America! and the Health Science Center’s Institute for Health Promotion Research. Click on image for larger view.
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Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Medicine of the UT Health Science Center, directs Salud America! and the Health Science Center’s Institute for Health Promotion Research. Click on image for larger view. clear graphic

 

Pilot grants
In addition to these three briefs, 20 pilot grantees funded by the RWJF through Salud America! have produced briefs highlighting their own, new research. These briefs analyze a wide range of issues, from the impact of menu labeling in small restaurants in south Los Angeles, to how after-school programs can help Latino youth be active and how community gardens can help lower-income Latino families eat more fruits and vegetables.

“These briefs provide a snapshot of the state of the Latino childhood obesity epidemic and describe how leaders and policymakers can more effectively address it,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., director of Salud America!, a national network of researchers, community leaders and policymakers who are working together to increase the number of Latino scientists seeking environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity. Dr. Ramirez is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Medicine of the UT Health Science Center.

Latinos are currently the most populous and fastest-growing U.S. ethnic minority. Over the last decade, the Latino population has grown by more than 40 percent.

And according to recent estimates, nearly 40 percent of Latino children and teens are overweight and more than 20 percent are obese.

Read the full text of the national briefs:View the full text of the grantee briefs from Texas:Get the full text of the grantee briefs from outside Texas:
 
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