Posts tagged Latino Childhood Obesity
Last week in San Antonio, the 4th Annual Salud America! Summit brought together experts from around the country to discuss the latest advancements to reduce and prevent Latino childhood obesity.
Learn more in this Univision video news report by Monica Navarro about Salud America!, a national research network funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The video features Salud America! director Dr. Amelie Ramirez.
Latino students are widely exposed to high-fat, high-sugar snacks and drinks sold in schools, but implementing stronger nutritional standards can yield healthier school snacks for this growing population at high risk of obesity, according to a new package of research materials released today by Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children.
The new Salud America! “Healthier School Snacks & Latino Kids” research materials, which can be found at www.salud-america.org, include:
• A research review with the latest science;
• An issue brief (lay summary of the review);
• An infographic; and
• An animated video
This is the first of six new research material packages to be released over the summer by Salud America!, each of which will focus on a specific topic on Latino childhood obesity and highlight the issue, policy implications and future research areas.
The “Healthier School Snacks & Latino Kids” package, released at the Salud America! Summit, highlights the fact that young people consume a high proportion of their daily calories at school.
“Research shows that access to unhealthy snack foods and beverages in schools has a disproportionately negative health influence among Latino students, and schools with a higher proportion of Latino students tend to have weaker policies regarding access to and nutritional values of these items,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America!, a national network of stakeholders seeking environmental and policy solutions to Latino obesity based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
“By 2050, 35 percent of young people in the U.S. will be Latino. Providing healthier school snacks and drinks can help make sure this growing population is healthy,” Ramirez said.
To learn more, visit www.salud-america.org.
Among companies that pledged to reform their child-directed advertising practices to encourage healthier choices, 78 percent of ads for children on Spanish-language television and 69 percent of ads for children on English-language television were for unhealthy foods or drinks.
The study, “Food Marketing to Children on U.S. Spanish-Language Television,” is the first large-scale effort to analyze food and beverage advertising on Spanish-language children’s television. It was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Healthy Eating Research program.
“All children, and especially Latinos, are bombarded with television ads that sell junk food and sugary drinks,” said Dale Kunkel of the University of Arizona at Tucson and the lead author of the study. “These findings are particularly concerning given the high rates of obesity among Latino youths.”
Kunkel and his colleagues analyzed the ad content for 158 Spanish-language television shows for children and compared them with those found on 139 English-language programs. The ads analyzed for the study were collected between February and April 2009.
The majority of child-directed ads (84% on Spanish shows and 74% on English shows) promoted Whoa products, such as candy, sugary cereals, fries, and sodas, which fall into the poorest nutritional category as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Whoa products are high in calories, fat, and/or added sugar. The DHHS recommends very limited consumption of such items.
Other key study findings:
- Fast-food commercials accounted for nearly half (46%) of all child-targeted food advertising on Spanish-language television.
- More than three-quarters (78%) of all Spanish-language food ads used popular cartoon characters to market Whoa products. The same was true for 49 percent of English-language ads.
- Ads for healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, were extremely rare, accounting for just 1 percent or fewer of all ads in either language.
“Our findings suggest that the food and beverage industry’s pledge to self-regulate is not effective, especially on Spanish-language television,” Kunkel said. “Most of the ads aimed at kids feature Whoa products, so clearly there’s a big gap between the industry’s definition of healthy and what nutrition experts say.”
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.
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.
“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.
A new culturally tailored, multi-component obesity prevention program among minority preschool children can help create an environment that positively impacts weight and gross motor skill development in children at risk for obesity, according to a new study in the journal Childhood Obesity.
For the program, called Míranos!, researchers from UT San Antonio and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio tested whether it is possible to indoctrinate students with healthy behaviors — for life — via several positive interactions with their parents, teachers and school workers and a supportive learning environment at school and home.
Researchers tested the program among predominantly Mexican-American kids enrolled in Head Start in San Antonio, Texas.
Favorable changes occurred in weight scores, gross motor skill development, outdoor physical activity and eating healthy food among the children who participated in Míranos!.
“Míranos! is a unique example of using a systems approach to create change at multiple levels and synergize multiple components to promote changes in preschool children’s physical activity and dietary behaviors,” the researchers concluded.
Learn more here.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series that will highlight work of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in Latino communities.
SaludToday Guest Blogger: Risa Lavizzo-Mourey
President and CEO, RWJF
RWJF and the Trust for America’s Health recently released our annual report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future.
Obesity rates in the United States remain unacceptably high, and the epidemic persists in affecting Blacks and Hispanics disproportionately. For the first time, this year’s report examined how the obesity epidemic could impact our future 20 years from now. Ironically, this forecast has made me reflect on the past.
Thirty years ago, I lived in Philadelphia and was an instructor at Temple University. After a long day teaching, I remember heading home with my daughter, who was a preschooler at the time. My office looked down North Broad Street, which ran through some of the worst urban blight of any American city in the past several decades. We wanted to pick up a few items for dinner, but couldn’t find a grocery store or supermarket with the fresh fruit, produce and other healthy foods we were accustomed to eating. About 20,000 people—mostly poor, mostly African-American and Hispanic—lived in that neighborhood and had to cope with this type of disadvantage on a daily basis. What I didn’t know then was that Philadelphia was a microcosm of how policies and environments affect diets, obesity, and health.
At that time, obesity was not on the radar as a major public health concern, and state obesity rates looked tame compared with what we see today. In 1995, Mississippi had an adult obesity rate of 19.4 percent, and Colorado had the lowest rate, 13.9 percent. According to the latest data, Colorado still has the lowest rate, but it has climbed to 20.7 percent. I don’t think we could have imagined it in 1995, but the lowest rate today is higher than the highest rate back then. That’s why it’s so important for us to look ahead to 2030 and try to chart a better course.
The new analysis in this year’s report shows that if obesity rates continue on their current trajectory, it’s estimated that by 2030 adult obesity rates could reach or exceed 44 percent in every state—and could exceed 60 percent in 13 states. If so, new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, hypertension and arthritis could skyrocket. Obesity-related health care costs could increase by more than 10 percent in 43 states and by more than 20 percent in nine states.
On the other hand, the analysis also shows that if the average adult body mass index (BMI) was decreased by only 5 percent in each state, we could spare millions of Americans from serious health problems and save billions of dollars in health care spending—between 6.5 percent and 7.8 percent in costs in almost every state. By 2030, this could equate to savings ranging from $1.1 billion in Wyoming to $81.7 billion in California.
We have made important progress toward preventing and reducing obesity around the country, especially among children. For instance, California, Mississippi and New York City are beginning to show decreases in overall rates of childhood obesity. The trends in those areas also have shown us that children who face the biggest obstacles to healthy choices and are at greatest risk for obesity do not always benefit when progress is made. I saw the evidence of this first hand when I lived in Philadelphia. That’s why a study released this fall tells the best story of all.
New data show Philadelphia has reduced its obesity rates in ways that also helped to close the disparities gap. While the city achieved an overall decline in obesity rates among public school students, the largest improvements came among Black male and Hispanic female students. For Black males, rates declined nearly 8 percent; rates for Hispanic females dropped 7 percent.
Although the decrease in childhood obesity rates in Philadelphia is a recent development, community-wide efforts started there more than a decade ago. We need to learn from the City of Brotherly Love and spread the actions and policies that work so all children can enjoy the benefits of better health.
I am now a grand mother and want my grandkids, and their entire generation, to be healthy. If we take effective action, many Americans could be spared from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems, and the savings in health care costs and increased productivity would have a real and positive impact on the economy. Investing in prevention today means a healthier, more productive and brighter future for our country.
- Researchers be Policy Change Agents? (Pg 1)
- Latinos Take a “No-Soda Challenge? (Pg 3)
- Parents Communicate Better w/Kids? (Pg 5)
- Latinos Face Unhealthy Marketing? (Pg 6)
Find out in the Salud America! E-newsletter.
Also find lots more news, research and funding inside the E-newsletter, and discover the preliminary research results of several Salud America! grantees working in Latino clinics, communities, and schools.
Salud America! is funded by RWJF and directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, which developed SaludToday.
To sign up to receive Salud America! E-newsletters, go here.
That’s why we’re excited to announce that Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children has received a two-year, $2.1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for its ongoing pursuit of policy and environmental solutions to the epidemic of Latino childhood obesity across the nation.
Salud America! will expand its 2,000-member network and develop an innovative system to support, inform, and empower advocates to prevent Latino childhood obesity.
This Web-based advocacy support system will unite science and multimedia experts to produce a continuous stream of evidence-based news, research, training, and education on Latino childhood obesity to empower researchers, policymakers, and the public to advocate for policy change.
Please join the network here.
“In the midst of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we’re extremely pleased that RWJF is supporting our unprecedented venture that we believe will create and inspire a cadre of advocates to spark policy changes that improve the health of Latino families,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, director of Salud America!, headquartered at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Salud America! was launched in 2007 to build the research base needed in order to address these challenges and reverse the obesity epidemic among Latino children and adolescents.
In its first five years, Salud America! supported new studies and research briefs from 20 different researchers. It also has fueled its online network with e-communications; the first Latino research priority agenda; a video on Latino childhood obesity; and research briefs examining Latino youth nutrition and physical activity, as well as Latino-targeted food and beverage marketing.
Now over the next two years, Salud America! plans to:
- expand its national brand as an information resource on Latino childhood obesity;
- add new members and advocates to its network;
- develop an online advocacy platform specific to the needs and concerns of advocates working to prevent Latino childhood obesity;
- develop a scientific research expert team to interpret and build evidence, and identify relevant content and calls to action;
- produce dynamic multimedia products to feed the network and advocacy platform; and
- monitor and evaluate the impact of these activities.
Salud America!’s innovative, online advocacy support platform will empower Latino advocates, providers, and other stakeholders with both nationally and locally relevant content.
Read more here.
Latinos kids: Don’t drink sodas during the school week.
This is the no-soda challenge being asked of Austin, Texas, students and their families by a Latino group, Manantial de Salud, a federally funded grassroots health network sponsored by the Latino Healthcare Forum in Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood.
The pledge—which essentially asks students and their families to “don’t do the Dew” from Monday to Friday during the school year—is now being adopted citywide by the Austin Independent School District (ISD), Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and other local groups as a small-but-serious step toward curbing childhood obesity.
Families who accept the challenge are urged to text “nosodas” to 84444 or email email@example.com, or share their stories here.
Latino families can text “sinsoda” to 84444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Stephen Pont, medical director for Austin ISD and pediatrician at Dell Children’s Medical Center, is figure-heading the overall initiative.
“Obesity is a terrible affliction for Latinos in Austin. We need to do many things to fight obesity, and one of the easiest and most important things we can do is to not give our children sodas or other sugary drinks,” Pont said in a statement to Manantial de Salud. “I ask Latino families to accept this challenge and promise to not drink sodas during the school week. This will help your children’s health and education.”
The idea for this challenge originated among two parent groups in Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood and in East Austin, where childhood obesity is a particular concern.
Thanks to a Community Transformation Grant, a five-year award to the Austin/Travis County Department of Health and Human Services by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the city is funding two projects coordinated by The University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus: Manantial de Salud in Dove Springs and East Side Healthy Living, which is sponsored in East Austin neighborhoods by the Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas.
“We’re making this promise for our families and urging all families here to do the same,” said Edgar Chacon, a parent and member of Manantial de Salud, in a statement. “Our children’s health is at stake and every small step like this will help in the fight against obesity.”
Read about a Latino family that’s already accepted the challenge.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series that will highlight the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s work in Latino communities across the country.
SaludToday Guest Blogger: Dr. Jennifer Harris
Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity
Obesity continues to hit the Latino community the hardest. About 39% of Hispanic adults are overweight compared with 33% of non-Hispanic whites. As obesity increases, so does the risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and congestive heart failure.
Food marketers see the Latino community as an important target because it is a large, young and growing segment that is sure to yield lots of future sales.
The barrage of food marketing to Latinos—particularly when the pitch is for unhealthy cereals, fast foods and sugary drinks—poses a significant challenge to reversing this epidemic and the related chronic diseases.
Just recently, General Mills partnered with actor Juan Soler in a Spanish-language campaign to promote the consumption of Honey Nut Cheerios as a way to lead a heart-healthy life. “Cuídate, Corazón” (Take Care, Heart) is described as a multi-market education campaign to help reduce the incidence of heart disease, the leading cause of death among Hispanics.
But in touting Honey Nut Cheerios as a healthy option, the campaign is another example of a misleading marketing tactic for an unhealthy food product.
The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity recently examined cereal nutrition and marketing in its Cereal FACTS 2012 report. My colleagues and I evaluated the nutritional quality of more than 100 brands and nearly 300 individual varieties of cereal marketed to children, families and adults. Honey Nut Cheerios isn’t one of the healthy options.
One serving of Honey Nut Cheerios contains nine grams of sugar, compared with just one gram in regular Cheerios. We created a video to show just how much sugar a single serving of this cereal contains.
In its press release, General Mills suggests eating four servings of the cereal daily to take in three grams of fiber, an amount that has been shown to reduce cholesterol. Although soluble fiber is a beneficial part of a healthy diet, it can be easily obtained in many foods, including oats, beans, peas and citrus fruits, which do not contain large quantities of added sugar.
If a person followed General Mills’s four-servings-a-day advice, he or she would consume 144 calories a day from added sugar. Over a year, that’s the equivalent of eating 29 pounds of sugar. It would add about 15 pounds of weight, if other calorie intake were not controlled. Considering the amount of sugar consumed from all other food sources, the Honey Nut Cheerios recommendation is risky at best.
The cereal’s benefits of soluble fiber are far outweighed by the sugar it contains; the American Heart Association recommends increasing fiber intake but also recommends decreasing added sugar in light of the link between added sugar consumption and heart disease. In fact, the association recommends that no more than half of discretionary calories come from added sugar, which is only 15 grams per day for a 4- to 8-year-old child.
Reducing the incidence of heart disease in the Latino community must be accomplished by reducing the intake of saturated fat, added sugar and sodium while increasing soluble fiber. Honey Nut Cheerios is simply not the right food for success.
Not only is General Mills promoting one of its less healthy products, it is disguising advertising as a socially responsible campaign. And while this campaign does not target Latino children directly, Honey Nut Cheerios is the second most frequently advertised cereal to children.
By using the leading man of a Spanish-language novela to endorse a cereal and its implied benefits for heart health, General Mills is trying to build brand loyalty and trust among parents who will think they’re doing right by their children by serving Honey Nut Cheerios.
In 2006, General Mills and other major companies promised to improve the nutritional value of their children’s cereals and strengthen their standards for child-directed advertising. The “Cuídate, Corazón” campaign demonstrates a way that General Mills is skirting its promise.
General Mills has healthy products in its portfolio, such as regular Cheerios and Chex. Why doesn’t it use celebrities to promote those to the Latino community instead?