Latino kids in underserved communities have limited options for physical activity, which is part of the reason they are more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers.
How can physical activity be part of their daily experience?
The best ways to improve access to and safe use of “active spaces”— gyms, athletic fields, parks, and playgrounds—include: adopting shared use agreements; improving neighborhood characteristics, such as repairing sidewalks, installing street lights, and improving park maintenance; creating safer routes to active spaces; and using marketing and technology to change Latino kids’ physical activity patterns.
Download Our New 2016 Active Spaces Research Review, Issue Brief, and Infographics!
In many Latino neighborhoods, fast food and corner stores often outnumber and are used more than supermarkets and farmers’ markets, resulting in inadequate consumption of healthy foods and overconsumption of unhealthy foods—part of the reason Latino kids are more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers.
How can healthy foods and drinks be the available, affordable, and desired choice?
Healthy food financing initiatives can boost access to healthy, affordable foods by offering supermarkets and farmers’ markets certain incentives to locate in underserved areas.
Government financing initiatives also encourage existing corner stores to expand their inventory of healthy, affordable foods. Separate programs use food vouchers by low-income consumers shopping at farmers’ markets.
Also, more marketing of healthy foods, and less of junk foods, can help spur desirability.
Download Our New 2015 Better Food Research Review, Issue Brief, and Infographics!
Latinos are the nation’s largest racial/ethnic minority group. They are expected to grow from 1 in 6 people today to 1 in 4 by 2035 and 1 in 3 by 2060. They’re also one of the most diverse groups, with distinct differences between those of varying national or territorial origin, place of birth, and language use.
Latinos also suffer vast differences in health conditions, also called health disparities, than whites.
Why do these disparities exist?
Certain health inequities are at play, which are rooted in social disadvantage and therefore are unjust or avoidable. Here we address six basic inequities among Latinos: educational attainment; income; residential segregation; access to care; community advocacy that drives disparities-reducing policies; and opposition to such policies.
Several actions can be taken to promote health equity and reduce health disparities, which can contribute to a culture of health where everyone is empowered to live the healthiest lives they can.
Healthy school environments are paramount for the proper development of Latino children, given the rising percentage of Latino students enrolled in public schools and the higher rates of obesity among Latino children than other racial/ethnic groups.
How can healthy schools be the norm for Latinos?
Implementing and enforcing stronger nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages will help all students have access to healthier snacks at school, which may positively influence body mass index (BMI) trends for all populations, especially those at greatest risk of being overweight or obese.
Because Latino students engage in less physical activity both in and out of school than their peers, implementing programs that reduce barriers may increase active play opportunities for Latino kids.
Moreover, regulation of the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children will help positively influence the quality of their diets.
Download Our New 2016 Healthier Schools Research Review, Issue Brief, and Infographics!
One of four U.S. kids is already overweight or obese by age 2-5, with a higher rate among Latino kids (30%) than white kids (21%).
How can Latino kids achieve a healthy weight by kindergarten?
Breastfeeding has positive effects on children. Interventions or policies aimed at improving breastfeeding rates among Latina mothers may be critical to promoting healthy weight goals.
In addition to breastfeeding, research suggests that other factors that may also play a critical role in helping Latino kids achieve a healthy weight by kindergarten: mothers’ physical activity and healthy eating habits before and during pregnancy, formula marketing, maternity leave, and kids’ healthy eating and physical activity habits established during early childhood.
Download Our New 2016 Healthy Weight Research Review, Issue Brief, and Infographics!
Latino kids ages 0-5 consumption of sugary drinks is higher than the overall average, which is part of the reason they are more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers.
How can sugary drink consumption be eliminated?
Pricing disincentives, such as sugary drink taxes, have been proposed to lower consumption of sugary drinks—including soda, sports and energy drinks, fruit juices and fruit drinks that contain less than 100 percent juice, and flavored milk—in several jurisdictions, with many earmarking the new revenues for obesity prevention and health promotion.
Pricing incentives include subsidization of healthier beverages and exemption of healthier beverages like bottled water from state sales taxes.