The obesity epidemic in the United States has significant prevalence in both the Hispanic and the disabled populations. When both of these factors are present, there is a virtual perfect storm for obesity risk. Spina bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. In San Diego, over 70% of the spina bifida population is Hispanic and more than half of the affected families are primary Spanish speakers. Over the past few years, in reaction to feedback from parents and pediatric patients, Spina Bifida San Diego (SBSD) has recognized the need to address the weight issues facing our affected teenagers.
We hope to create a network of patient and family stakeholders who are invested in identifying the obesity issues facing our predominantly Hispanic spina bifida population, through structured focus meetings facilitated by a nutritionist and a bilingual assistant. We plan to reach out to community investigators in obesity research to create a panel composed of patients, parents, caretakers, and researchers who provide the self-motivation, dedication, and meaningful solutions addressing the prevention and resolution of obesity in this high-risk population.