According to Healthy Kids New Mexico (2012), Hispanic school-age children in New Mexico are more than twice as likely as white non-Hispanic students to be obese (17.7 percent versus 8.7 percent). Hispanic families living in a Colonia are at a greater risk than are their white counterparts for health disparities as a result of substandard housing, safety issues, high poverty levels, and lack of basic infrastructure. These issues, along with lack of access to needed resources, can make it extremely difficult to make healthy choices about eating and physical activity. The long-term objective of this collaborative project is to increase the capacity of Hispanic-American families living in a southern New Mexico Colonia to identify strategies to promote healthy eating and physical activity, thus reducing health disparities related to obesity.
For this Tier II project, the focus will be to continue building a partnership between researchers and stakeholders within the community. Objectives include:
- Identify key stakeholders, not already at the table, with the needed expertise to address weight-management issues and obesity.
- Conduct town-hall meetings to engage community members in identifying effective strategies to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
- Develop a preliminary screening and referral process between families, schools, and a local healthcare provider for families at risk for being overweight or obese.
- Create a list of viable comparative effectiveness research questions for a future research proposal.