Financial Stress, Discrimination Blamed for Obesity Among Latinos In US

Ethnic origin and working conditions have an effect on the health of children that grow up in the US, with immigrants the worst affected

Financial Stress, Discrimination Blamed for Obesity Among Latinos In US.
July 19, 2023 | 09:55 AM

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Bloomberg Línea — Latino children in the United States have the highest rate of excess weight, while African American have the highest rate of obesity, and both phenomena are linked to racial discrimination and financial stress, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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The study, led by Adolfo Cuevas of New York University’s School of Global Public Health, looked at a group of 6,463 children, aged nine to 11 in the first year of the study, and aged 10 to 12 in the second.

“Life in a toxic environment, with financial stress and racial discrimination changes metabolism,” Cuevas explained to EFE. “Even adjusting for factors such as level of education and household income, we found that racial discrimination appears to be associated with an elevated body mass index (weight-to-height ratio),” he added.

According to the study, the rates of children with a weight considered healthy were 68.52% for whites, 49.36% for Hispanics and 49.34% for African-Americans.


However, among the three groups, Hispanics showed the highest rate of excess weight, with 28.22% of children observed, compared to 22.97% for African Americans and 16.48% for whites. As for obesity, African American children led with 24.3%, followed by Hispanics with 18.16% and whites with 6.68%.

The study also looked at the unfair or negative treatment children received because of their ethnicity. Cuevas said that a high proportion of minority children reported experiencing unfair treatment by their teachers and peers. It is possible that this discrimination influences eating habits. In addition, children who face racial discrimination are likely to be less likely to participate in physical activity.

Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem in the United States, with consequences such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and joint problems, among others.

While the research is ongoing, it indicates that some factors contributing to the increased prevalence of obesity and obesity disparities are parental education, single-parent households, poverty, and the neighborhood in which those studied live.

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