Release Date: 07/06/2015
obesity is more prevalent among Hispanic children than children of other ethnic
groups, a problem that has been steadily increasing in the United States over
the past decade. An anthropologist and researcher with the Center for Primary
Care and Prevention at Memorial Hospital, a Care New England hospital, is part
of a team that conducted focus groups to best determine a plan for reducing
risk factors for obesity in Hispanic children.
study – entitled “Reducing Hispanic Children’s Obesity Risk Factors in the
first 1,000 Days of Life: A Qualitative Analysis” – was published in a recent
issue of the Journal of Obesity.
Roberta Goldman, PhD, of Memorial, was one of its authors.
to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), one in three Hispanic children is
overweight or obese,” Dr. Goldman notes. “The obesity epidemic in Hispanic
communities has become a crisis, and Hispanic children are becoming obese
earlier in their lives than ever before.”
researchers’ goal was to examine underlying reasons for early life obesity risk
factors and identify potential early intervention strategies. Through seven
focus groups gathering almost 50 pregnant or new mothers, the following reasons
for early life obesity were identified:
- Some mothers’ attempts to cope with
the physical changes of pregnancy trumped healthy eating and physical
activity, even among women who believe good nutrition and exercise are
- Women believed excessive gestational
weight gain negatively impacted their baby’s health, but they did not
think it would lead to childhood obesity.
- Women understood that chubby babies
are not necessarily healthy, but did not connect that to later life
- Mothers felt responsible for ensuring
that their babies felt full. Fear of infant hunger can drive bottle use
and the early introduction of solid foods.
- Mothers felt compelled to offer early
solids and sugary drinks based on their belief that their babies did not
like anything else.
- Mothers did not see the harm in
television viewing, and some actually felt that screen time promotes
infant learning and visual development.
terms of possible interventions, Goldman says the study participants identified
physicians and nutritionists as key resources, and many expressed interest in
mobile technology and group or home visits.
we found is that there are opportunities to improve Hispanic mothers’
understanding of the role of early weight gain in childhood obesity and other
obesity risk factors. This can be done in the first 1,000 days of a baby’s
life,” the researchers explain in summation. “Interventions that link health
care and public health systems, and include extended family, may help reduce
obesity among Hispanic children.”
Center for Primary Care and Prevention is dedicated to promoting research,
knowledge enrichment, and improving practice in primary care and prevention.
Research conducted by its faculty members aims to help providers in the
prevention, diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses.
###About Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New
England hospital, is a 294-bed hospital that serves as the major teaching affiliate
of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the chief site for
the medical school's primary care academic program.
Research focuses on primary care and disease prevention, including
osteoarthritis, heart disease, cancer, pulmonary function, maternal and child
health and women’s health issues.
Memorial provides a
full spectrum of health services for the people of Rhode Island and
southeastern Massachusetts. Services include oncology, cardiovascular,
rehabilitation, pain management, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, 24-hour
intensive care specialist coverage and diagnostics. Memorial offers primary
care services in Pawtucket, Central Falls and Plainville, Massachusetts, an
adult day center, and home care program to provide a seamless system of medical
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