Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Childhood Obesity Still Prevalent in Latino Children

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A new Centers for Disease Control report found that childhood obesity rates in low-income families have declined, but Latino families continue to have some of the largest childhood obesity rates in the U.S.

According to the report, more than 39 percent of Latino children aged 2-to-19, are overweight or obese compared to 32 percent of U.S. children in general. One in six, or 16.2 percent of that population of low-income Latinos are obese preschoolers.

“It’s hard when children live in an environment not conducive for what they’re learning about obesity,” said Rebecca Adeigbe, the program coordinator for Salud America!, a Latino childhood obesity prevention program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The community and policy piece of the fight against obesity have to be there to reinforce what we’re asking people to do.”

Of the 19 states and territories to experience a downward trend in the percentage of low-income obese children aged 2-to-5-years-old, the report found that New Jersey and Florida, two of the states with the largest Latino population, were among the states with the largest absolute decrease in obesity prevalence. However, there has been no significant change in obesity rates in twenty states, including Puerto Rico.

The report found that the childhood obesity rate in Puerto Rico has not grown or declined, but 17.9 percent of children are still obese – the highest rate in the entire country. Many individuals remain hopeful that with an increase of people in medical fields and participation in programs, like Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign,  obesity rates will continue to fluctuate.

“There are a lot of different changes happening at different levels in the country,” said Adeigbe. “More and more so, the medical field, doctors and nurses particularly, are becoming more important and starting to realize they need to address obesity in parents when they come across obese children in a school or neighborhood setting.”

NBC Latino