Pediatric Obesity

The Unique Issues in Latino-American Male Youth

Published In: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, v. 34, no. 2, Feb. 2008, p. 153-160

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2007

by Steven D. Stovitz, Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, Homero Martinez, Mary T. Story

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Pediatric obesity in the United States has been steadily rising over the past few decades, and it is a clear risk factor for adult obesity and obesity-related morbidity and mortality. A review of the literature from three major national databases reveals that the prevalence rates of obesity within Latino male children and adolescents is, in general, higher than other major gender-ethnic groups. Additionally, obese Latino male youth seem to be especially prone to a variety of obesity-related morbidities. Given the rising percentage of Latinos among our nationgass youth, there is an urgency to develop and implement clinical and community research strategies to prevent and treat obesity within this high-risk gender-ethnic group. This article reviews the prevalence of pediatric obesity within the three largest databases in the U.S. with Latino representation. The paper then discusses unique issues in the etiology and ramifications of obesity within young Latino-American boys, reviews the few intervention studies that focus on Latino youth, and discusses potential strategies for further research.

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