Why are we concerned?
It has been proven that obesity increases the risks of many serious medical problems,
- Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes was once called adult-onset diabetes. Now with the rise in childhood obesity, there is a dramatic rise in the number of children suffering from type 2 diabetes. Untreated, this can be a life-threatening condition.
- Asthma: Extra weight can make it harder to breathe and can inflame the respiratory tract. There is a rise in childhood asthma and children with serious asthma are more likely to be overweight.
- Heart Failure: Being overweight makes the heart work harder. Overweight children are more likely to grow up to be overweight adults who develop heart problems.
Why do so many latino children suffer from obesity?
Too much screen time
Screen time is a major factor contributing to childhood obesity. It takes away from the time children spend being physically active, leads to increased snacking in front of the TV, which influences children with advertisements for unhealthy foods.
Marketing of Unhealthy Foods
It is documented that schools in low-income communities are targeted by fast food establishments. Foods high in calories, sugars, salt, fat and low in nutrients are advertised and marketed extensively toward children and adolescents, while advertising for healthier foods is almost nonexistent.
Limited Access to Healthy Affordable Foods
Many latinos live in low income communities which have less access to stores and supermarkets that sell healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables. Choosing healthy foods is difficult for parents who live in areas with an overabundance of unhealthy options like convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
Lack of Daily Physical Activity
Most teenagers fall short of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity each day. Only 18% of students in grades 9—12 met this recommendation in 2007. Daily physical education in school can help students meet the guidelines, however, in 2009 only 33% of students had access to and attended daily physical education classes.
Increased Portion Sizes
Portion sizes of less healthy foods and beverages have increased over time in restaurants, grocery stores, and vending machines. Research shows that people eat more without realizing it if they are served larger portions. Children are consuming a lot of extra calories, especially when eating junk food.
Higher Consumption of Sugary Beverages
Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the diets of children and adolescents. Increasing consumption of these high caloric beverages is associated with the increasing rates of childhood obesity. Research has shown that Latino children consume more sugary drinks than white children.
Parents low education/ Low Income
It is believed that low education, limited English language skills, and low income also negatively impact obesity. These three factors limit the access to healthy food and information about proper nutrition. Many Latino parents consider plump children to be healthier and have a tendency to overfeed their children despite pediatrician recommendations.