Latino youths in the United States are more likely to be overweight or obese than their white peers. There are countless factors that may directly impact obesity rates or act as barriers or facilitators to healthy weight in this population, and this implies that the problem can be approached from many different directions. This comprehensive research review from Salud America! & The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity Among Latino Children summarizes current, peer-reviewed scientific literature regarding the influence of some of the many factors that may contribute to this disparity, such as:
- Breastfeeding policies
- Physical activity during pregnancy
- Healthy eating and physical activity during childcare
- Paid maternity leave
- Pre-delivery strategies
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Formula marketing
- Health care insurance
Jeremy Hobson of Here & Now interviews investigative reporter Michael Moss, author of “Salt Sugar Fat.” Moss spoke with food industry professionals about how consuming processed foods causes children to reject healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables. Their palates are inundated with sugar, and they essentially learn that food should taste excessively sweet and salty.
“[Processed foods] create this expectation in us that everything should be sweet and this is especially difficult for kids who are hard-wired to the sweet taste. So when you drag their little butts over to the produce aisle and try to get them to eat some of that stuff we all should be eating more of, brussels sprouts and broccoli, which have some of the other basic tastes like sour and bitter, you get a rebellion on your hands.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends discouraging any screen time for children under the age of two, and less than two hours a day of educational programming for older children. However, according to a study conducted by CommonSense Media, on any given day 29% of babies younger than 1 are using screens for an average of 90 minutes. Toddler screen time is linked to BMI, exposure to junk food advertising, and irregular sleep patterns. For parents looking to unplug, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has compiled these tried and true tips for decreasing screen time for children and encouraging more interactive forms of play.