Childhood Obesity Among Hispanics
The Hispanic community is rapidly growing and forms the majority of the racial-ethnic group in the United States. Hispanic play a significant role in the economy by filling the critical workforce gaps in labor-short industries. However, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by poor health conditions and health inequalities. There is a significant health discrepancy between the Hispanic community and Native Americans. Childhood obesity is one of the major health risks endured by Hispanics, which puts the health of children at risk. If the children's body mass index (BMI-for-age) percentile is greater than 95 percent, the teen is considered obese as claimed by Moore et al. (2020). Childhood obesity can cause severe complications such as heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. Additionally, obese children suffer from negative impacts such as poor self-image and self-esteem, poor social connections, school absenteeism, and overall low educational achievement (Smith & Kobayashi, 2020). Obesity in childhood can result in poor health that persists into adulthood.
Understanding the causes of childhood obesity in Hispanic children is critical to provide critical information while identifying other underlying issues. Early intervention is essential to combat the consequences of childhood obesity in the United States. This topic explores obesity among Hispanic children based on factors that affect children's ability to maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). It consists of a variety of causes, including lack of Physical activity and Poor Diet, environmental and social impacts, and limited health-care access.
Absence of Physical Activity and Poor Diet
Most Hispanic teenagers cannot meet the recommended amount of exercise per day of one hour of intense physical activity. Parental restrictions and work schedules, transportation to after-school activities, and living in unsafe neighborhoods are some of the challenges that some Hispanic families encounter. Obesity develops due to children's inability to burn excess calories due to a lack of regular activity. Television viewing and video game playing are examples of leisure activities that contribute to the illness. This indicates that time is being taken from physical activity and spent on non-health encouraging activities.
Poor dietary patterns and taking foods with high fat and sugar levels lead to excessive weight gain among children of the Hispanic community. Poor dietary habits, increases in caloric intake, and low physical activity, such as spending hours watching television or playing video games, substantially impact their weight gain. In addition, the increase in caloric intake due to the consumption of fast food, candy, soft drinks, frozen dinners, salty snacks, and canned pasta has reduced the essential nutrients for a healthy diet and has consequently contributed to unhealthy weight gain among Hispanic children. Without firm intervention, it isn't easy to get Hispania children to embrace eating healthy foods (Aguayo-Mazzucato et al., 2018).
Sociocultural and Environmental Influences
The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Hispanic children is influenced by social, environmental, and economic factors. Low-income and minority communities, particularly Hispanics, lack access to supermarkets and chain food stores (Hswen et al., 2020). More convenience stores and fast food restaurants provide high-calorie and high-fat items. Compared to White areas, schools in these neighborhoods offer fewer healthier food options.
Inadequate Access to Healthcare.
Due to financial and non-financial challenges to receiving appropriate and timely health care, Hispanic families sometimes cannot offer a healthy lifestyle for their children. Low earnings among Hispanics and restricted access to employer-provided health care, culture, language, and immigration status all directly affect access and exacerbate childhood obesity (Aguayo-Mazzucato et al., 2018). Furthermore, Hispanics heavily depend on out-of-pocket health care costs without health insurance coverage. According to Hswen et al. (2020), Hispanics in the U.S are among the people with a high uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group. Without health insurance coverage, most Hispanic families cannot afford to seek health intervention for their children. Lack of access to appropriate health care services has increased the prevalence of obesity among children.
Intervention in the causes of obesity in the Hispanic community is essential for ensuring their health and safety. In educational environments, there should be an increase in healthy eating and physical activity. Therefore, it will be necessary to devise more effective methods for addressing the various community issues. Therefore, the research must accurately identify these intervention strategies. Discrimination, which can manifest itself in various ways, is one of the crucial concerns to solve. Due to discrimination, Hispanics, particularly children, will have inadequate access to health care. In addition, they will lack improved access to other important services, resulting in widespread suffering.
Teenagers are our future; therefore, putting them at risk for obesity is wrong. Balanced meals are required as a concerted effort to tackle the issue of obesity among children. Consuming more fruits and vegetables, less fat, fewer sugary drinks, adequate amounts of water and other low-calorie beverages, and smaller serving sizes at meals and snacks are all important dietary habits.By promoting healthy foods, physical activity, and education, the nation can stop the alarming development of childhood obesity among Hispanics. In addition, obesity prevention interventions should be implemented at a young age because childhood obesity persists throughout adolescence and adulthood.
Aguayo-Mazzucato, C., Diaque, P., Hernandez, S., Rosas, S., Kostic, A., & Caballero, A. E. (2018). Understanding the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the Hispanic population living in the United States. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, 35(2), e3097. https://doi.org/10.1002/dmrr.3097
Hswen, Y., Hawkins, J. B., Sewalk, K., Tuli, G., Williams, D. R., Viswanath, K., Subramanian, S. V., & Brownstein, J. S. (2020). Racial and ethnic disparities in patient experiences in the United States: 4-Year content analysis of Twitter. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(8), e17048. https://doi.org/10.2196/17048
Moore, B. F., Harrall, K. K., Sauder, K. A., Glueck, D. H., & Dabelea, D. (2020). Neonatal adiposity and childhood obesity. Pediatrics, 146(3). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020-0737
O’Lawrence, H., Martinez, L., Castelo, G., Humes, E., Mayorga, B., & Rosas, R. (2020). The latest review of childhood obesity among Hispanic and Latinx populations in California. Diabetes Research: Open Access, 2(2), 22-30. https://doi.org/10.36502/2020/droa.6165
Smith, J. D., Fu, E., & Kobayashi, M. A. (2020). Prevention and management of childhood obesity and its psychological and health comorbidities. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 16(1), 351-378. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-100219-060201