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Childhood Obesity Prevention Across Borders: The Promise of US-Latin American Research Collaboration


Special Issue: Obesity Prevention Across Borders: The Promise of US-Latin American Research Collaboration

Childhood Obesity Prevention Across Borders.jpgFogarty coordinated a peer-reviewed scientific journal supplement, Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Across Borders: The Promise of US-Latin American Research Collaboration, published in Obesity Review that explores nine cross-cutting themes and articulates a shared research agenda to address childhood obesity prevention in Latin America and among Latino populations in the United States. The supplement harnesses a particular layer of the Community-Energy Balance Framework to understand the contextual influences that define the problem, the current research landscape, and the opportunities for cross-border learning. In addition, it details the measurement challenges, research capacity needs, and chemical exposures that cut across the field. Finally, the supplement identifies innovative methods and scientific tools that could advance the development and delivery of interventions that require multi-sector collaboration. The supplement is also available in Spanish: Prevención transfronteriza de la obesidad infantil: la promesa de colaboración entre EE. UU. y Latinoamérica en la investigación.

A factsheet of the supplement’s background, articles, and themes can be found here. Leer una hoja informativa sobre la iniciativa de investigación Prevención transfronteriza de la obesidad infantil.


The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), in collaboration with CGHS, hosted the Childhood Obesity Research Across Borders webinar series in June and July 2021. The first webinar discussed how social determinants of health, specifically in terms of migration and the social environment, influence childhood obesity in the United States and Latin America. The second addressed how policy changes and citizen science can influence childhood obesity prevention programs in the United States and Latin America. Recordings of the webinar and slides can be found here:

The Latin American Congress of Physical Activity and Health Research hosted the Fulfilling the promise of collaboration between Latin America and the United States for the promotion of physical activity and the prevention of childhood obesity plenary session. The goal of this hour long session that took place on June 24, 2021 was to understand synergies between physical activity promotion and childhood obesity prevention research conducted across countries in Latin America and among Latino populations in the US by sharing lessons learned, identifying common research strategies, and considering where the field is moving. (recording forthcoming)

The 19th Latin American Nutrition Society (SLAN) hosted the Realizing the promise of Latin America & US collaboration for food, nutrition and childhood obesity prevention symposium on November 3, 2021 at 2:45 pm (Eastern). This symposium highlighted the major food and nutrition findings from the Cross Border supplement, provided compelling examples of cross border research and learning, and asked panelists to share their experience, lessons learned, and research strategies working on nutrition across border, and consider where the field is moving.




The two-day workshop highlighted synergies between research conducted in Latin America and among Latino populations in the U.S., focusing on six cross-cutting areas: social environment; built environment; migration; implementation science; measures; and capacity building. The meeting addressed the need to accelerate the adaptation and implementation of proven interventions, including program and policy strategies across the Americas. It explored the promise and challenges of working in both regions; collaboration strategies; and how to stimulate a sustainable network of researchers.

Cross border collaborative awards

To further support the development of new research partnerships between countries to address childhood obesity prevention, CRDF Global on behalf of Fogarty solicited 2020 Cross Border Collaboration Award proposals. These travel, conference and capacity building awards for up to $10,000 USD each are intended to promote new collaborations between U.S. and Latin American investigators as well as among investigators across different Latin American countries to catalyze new science and expand capacity in performing high-quality childhood obesity research.

Applications closed on February 28, 2020.

  • Understanding the effect of movement behaviors on childhood obesity and cognitive development in early childhood: establishing a cross-national collaborative
    Location: Brazil, Chile, Mexico
    Principal Investigator: Alejandra Jáuregui, Instituto Nacional de Salud
  • The food retail environment and its use in US-Mexico border sister cities
    Location: Mexico, United States
    Principal Investigator: Sara Benjamin-Neelon, Johns Hopkins University
  • Transferring the experience of Chile and Mexico to inform implementation of effective strategies to reduce childhood obesity in Costa Rica
    Location: Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico
    Principal Investigator: Rafael Monge-Rojas, Costa Rican Institute for Research
  • Cross-border approaches to applying novel methods for child obesity research
    Location: Chile, Mexico, United States
    Principal Investigator: Karen Peterson, University of Michigan
  • Building healthy environments through children-engaged citizen science in Latin American countries
    Location: Brazil, Chile, Columbia, United States
    Principal Investigator: Olga Sarmiento, Universidad de Los Andes
  • Crossing Three Borders: Pediatric Obesity and the Dual Burden in Ecuador, Peru and the United States
    Location: Ecuador, Peru, United States
    Principal Investigator: Amanda Thompson, University of North Carolina
  • Binational collaboration to reduce childhood obesity among underserved children
    Location: Mexico, United States
    Principal Investigator: Noe Crespo, San Diego State University
  • San Diego- Tijuana cross-border conference to build regional collaboration for childhood obesity prevention
    Location: Mexico, United States
    Principal Investigator: Hala Madanat, San Diego State University
  • In-store features and parent-child interactions associations with ultra-processed foods in purchase
    Location: Brazil, United States
    Principal Investigator: Ana Clara Duran, University of Campinas
  • Precision nutrition in childhood obesity: Principles and approaches
    Location: Mexico, United States
    Principal Investigator: Venkata Saroja, University of North Carolina
  • Intersections between adolescent fertility and obesity - Seeking preventive synergistic solutions
    Location: Brazil, United States
    Principal Investigator: Saionara Câmara, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte
  • Policy Diffusion and Implementation of Frontal-of-packaging Warning Labels in Chile: Lessons to Prevent Childhood Obesity in the U.S. and Other Latin American Countries
    Location: Chile, United States
    Principal Investigator: Arturo Bustamante, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Designing a systems science approach to address sugary beverage availability in schools in Guatemala City
    Location: Guatemala, United States
    Principal Investigator: Uriyoan Colon-Ramos, George Washington University

NIH Partners

  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
  • National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
  • NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
  • NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP)

Scientific Co-chairs

  • Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Yale University
  • Abby King, Stanford University


Susan Vorkoper, M.P.H., M.S.W.
Public Health Advisor
Fogarty Division of International Science Policy, Planning and Evaluation
Email: Susan.Vorkoper@nih.gov

Updated May 26, 2023