Within the last decade obesity has been identified as a significant health problem in the United States and a major contributor to the burden of illness and disability. U.S. racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly children in these groups, are disparately affected: Overweight and obesity rates are higher in Hispanics and African Americans than in other groups. The direct effect of obesity on physical health problems is confounded by a variety of psychological problems and social issues. Clearly there is a need to understand these disparities from the respective standpoints of the communities most affected. Clearly needed is a long-term research program that arises from collaboration among people who are already struggling with these problems in their communities. Clearly needed are prevention and treatment strategies that truly work. This project will focus on obesity intervention strategies in a school district composed of 1,959 children of whom 98% are minorities. Results of this project will enable the children to achieve their full potential for healthy and productive lives, free from disease or disability, thus aligning with the mission of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Furthermore, by promoting the health of Hispanic children and their parents/caregivers, this project will further the mission of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The primary goal of Viva: Obesity Intervention in West Oso Independent School District is to develop, through collaborative community and school engagement, interventions to reduce obesity among middle school students and their parents. Viva will implement the views of the Hispanic community of what will work in their neighborhoods into strategies that can effectively decrease obesity through culturally relevant dissemination techniques. The rationale for Viva is that understanding community-defined barriers to interventions is vital to the design and ultimate success of these interventions. The short-term goal is to determine community understanding and concerns related to obesity in children, and to assess the effectiveness of existing health information. The long-term objective is the development of a community-identified research agenda and the submission of an extensive application to develop and implement culturally relevant health campaigns for the prevention and treatment of obesity in Hispanic children. By achieving the specific aims of this application, the academic-community partnerships will identify prevention and intervention strategies to control obesity and implement effective dissemination techniques. The intervention strategies will be designed according to community specifications and be exportable to similar communities in the U.S.
The specific aims of Viva are: 1. Community Engagement: Utilize community insight and professional knowledge to develop a culturally tailored process for assessing perceptions, issues and barriers surrounding childhood obesity in south Texas. 2. Recruitment and Data Collection: Identify the participants of and conduct focus group interviews and surveys to assess concerns and perceptions of obesity, community defined barriers to health and intervention strategies that will be successful with this community. Academic-community partners will analyze the results. 3. Implementation and Dissemination: Disseminate results thorough the Viva website, the Viva Conference and other communication channels and through the implementation/performance of a student written and delivered play. Design additional, culturally relevant intervention strategies to reduce obesity in middle school students and parents.
Viva will engage the community of the West Oso Independent School District, which is 98% minority, in dialogues focused on obesity in children to evaluate the community's perceptions of obesity, dietary intake, physical activity and body image. With the community's assistance, Viva will identify prevention and intervention strategies to control obesity and implement effective health dissemination techniques among Hispanic children. The Viva-community partnership will develop strategies to protect and promote the health of children, ensure that they are able to reach their full potential for healthy, productive lives and address issues of health disparities