More Latino kids are obese by ages 2-5 than white kids, due to maternal obesity, less exclusive breastfeeding, and workplace and childcare issues that affect nutrition and physical activity levels, according to a new package of research from Salud America!, a national network for Latino childhood obesity prevention funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and based at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Salud America!'s Healthy Weight by Kindergarten for Latino Kids research package includes an in-depth review of the latest science on the health of Latinos ages 0-5, policy recommendations based on that research, an issue brief, animated video and infographics.
Research shows half of Latinas are overweight/obese when they get pregnant. Obese Latina moms gave birth to kids who were 1.8 times more likely to be obese than their peers.
Breastfeeding can reduce obesity by 47 percent among Latino kids, but Latina moms are less likely than white moms to exclusively breastfeed their infants through age 1 because of a lack of prenatal programs, lack of paid maternity leave and breastfeeding-unfriendly workplaces.
But several policies are emerging to improve maternal and child health:
"Interventions or policies aimed at improving breastfeeding rates among Latina mothers and improving healthy lifestyle standards in prenatal and early childcare settings are critical to promoting healthy weight goals," said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Obesity is a problem among Latino kids. About one of four U.S. kids is overweight or obese by age 2-5, with a higher rate among Latino kids (30 percent) than white kids (21 percent).
To examine the barriers preventing Latino children from growing up at a healthy weight, and provide suggestions on solutions, Salud America! is developing five new packages of research, infographics, and videos that cover:
"Healthy Weight by Kindergarten for Latino Kids" includes these policy recommendations:
"It will take a team effort to get Latino kids on the path to a healthy weight," Dr. Ramirez said.
Access the full Salud America! "Healthy Weight by Kindergarten for Latino Kids" research at http://www.communitycommons.org/groups/salud-america/big-bets/sa-healthy-weight/.
Materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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