Preventing Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Latin America: Linking Evidence to Policy and Practice

Children happily run and play outside in a school courtyard
Photo by Marco Simola, courtesy of Photoshare

In October 2014, the Center for Global Health Studies (CGHS) at Fogarty organized a workshop on prevention of childhood overweight and obesity in Latin America, with a focus on linking evidence to policy and practice. Participants included researchers, policymakers and representatives of nongovernmental organizations from the U.S. and the Latin American region. Objectives of the workshop included:

  • Stimulating dialogue among these diverse stakeholders around the state of the science and future directions regarding obesity research in the region
  • Laying the groundwork for one or more publications that would address these issues, including the articulation of a research and research training agenda

This two-day workshop addressed many factors relating to childhood obesity in Latin America, including the role of socioeconomic disparities, food policy, urbanization and physical activity. The workshop also addressed legislative policies related to curbing the obesity epidemic such as taxes on high-calories foods in Mexico, and banning "Red Light" foods in Brazil. The workshop concluded with a focus on capacity building and training skills necessary to move the field of obesity research forward. The workshop was followed by a two-day writing retreat that included pre-selected participants, which set the stage for the development of a series of articles on these topics.

Results

Workshop participants produced a series of articles in a supplement to the journal Obesity Review that address the state of the science, pressing research questions, models for translation of evidence into policy and program, and research capacity building priorities.

In addition, members of the Steering Committee, along with several of the article authors, held a symposium at the 18th Congress of the Latin American Society of Nutrition in which they discussed the results of the 2014 workshop and issues that will be covered in article series.

Steering Committee

Dr. Juan Rivera Dommarco, MS, Ph.D.
Director, Centro de Investigación en Nutrición y Salud
Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública Mexico

Dr. Benjamin Caballero, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of International Health and Maternal and Child Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

NIH Partners

  • Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
  • National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Inquiries

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

Updated March 2018

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