Bridging Research and Policy to Address Childhood Obesity Among Border Hispanics A Pilot Study
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BACKGROUND: Mexican-American children are disproportionately affected by obesity compared to other population groups. Although national guidelines recommend using environmental and policy approaches to address this public health issue, the majority of Mexican-American children do not meet physical activity recommendations. PURPOSE: To describe a knowledge transfer process involving local decision makers to address childhood obesity and physical activity needs among low-income, Mexican-American children and to examine environmental policy recommendations generated in this process. METHODS: This pilot study employed a qualitative research design that included the dissemination of primary research data to local decision makers in the Texas-Mexico border region. Stakeholders attending public meetings were briefed about a research project reporting on the physical activity needs of Mexican-American children from impoverished neighborhoods known as colonias. Seventy-four stakeholders responded to an unstructured questionnaire and proposed policy recommendations. Data were collected January-April 2011 and analyzed July-September 2011. Data were analyzed using a content analysis technique. RESULTS: Four policy themes emerged from the data: (1) establishing sustainable community-based health programs; (2) improving neighborhood infrastructure and safety; (3) increasing access to parks; and (4) supporting community organizations to disseminate health education to parents and children. CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge transfer processes planned and facilitated by researchers at public meetings with local decision makers are effective methods to influence policy development related to childhood obesity.
author list (cited authors)
Mier, N., Smith, M. L., Irizarry, D., Carrillo-Zuniga, G., Lee, C., Trevino, L., & Ory, M. G.