Promoting healthy behaviors in Hispanic, Latino/a high schoolers
October 24, 2022
High schoolers in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino/a have the second-highest rate (38.8%) of overweight/obesity. Evidence supports culturally sensitive behavioral interventions tailored to subgroups by family country of origin and aimed at promoting healthy behaviors. Unfortunately, Hispanic or Latino/a adolescents are underrepresented in pediatric obesity prevention literature, thus less is known about protective factors against overweight/obesity among these youth.
Center member and Assistant Professor Christie Martin, PhD, MPH, RN-BC, LHIT-HP, recently had her dissertation research Weight Status Among Minnesota Hispanic or Latino/a Youth: An Exploration of Protective Factors published in the American Journal of Health Promotion. Co-authors included Center Director Jayne Fulkerson, PhD, NAP; Marla Eisenberg, ScD; Barbara McMorris, PhD; Carolyn Porta, PhD; and Renee Sieving, PhD; statistician, Michelle Mathiason, MS; Yazmin Cespedes, MPH; and Sarah Espinoza, PhD.
The purpose of this secondary analysis of a population-based statewide survey—the Minnesota Student Survey—was to determine prevalence rates and identify protective factors (meeting fruit and vegetable recommendations, meeting physical activity recommendations, family caring, and family country/region of origin) associated with having overweight/obesity in 5,442 Minnesota Hispanic or Latino/a 9th and 11th graders.
Meeting physical activity recommendations was protective against overweight or obesity in males and females. Family caring was protective against overweight/obesity in females only, and family country/region of origin was protective against overweight/obesity in females and males. Family caring was protective against overweight/obesity in females only, and family country/region of origin was protective against overweight/obesity in females and males.
The research advanced the science of pediatric obesity literature by providing foundational knowledge regarding obesity-related protective factors among Hispanic or Latino/a youth and direction for future intervention development to promote health equity. Findings illustrate a need to explore the protective nature of family caring and family country/region of origin. Martin plans to continue exploring health behaviors and outcomes among Hispanic or Latino/a populations and expects to co-design culturally sensitive digital tools aimed at empowering underserved and underrepresented individuals, families and communities.
Read Weight Status Among Minnesota Hispanic or Latino/a Youth: An Exploration of Protective Factors at z.umn.edu/weightstatus.