233784 Body image perceptions among Mexican Americans

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 1:30 PM - 1:50 PM

Cristina Barroso, DrPH , Division of Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, Brownsville, TX
The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled in the last three decades across all age groups, and disproportionately affects economically disadvantaged populations. Based on the CDC BMI-for-age-and-gender growth charts, 16% of Mexican-American adolescents are obese and an additional 34% are overweight. Physical activity has been shown to contribute to weight management and reduce risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, and some forms of cancer. However, Mexican-American children are more likely to be inactive, placing them at increased risk for unhealthy adult lives. There is evidence to suggest that some Hispanic populations perceive an endomorphic somatotype to be healthy, which may contribute to the disproportionate rates of overweight and physical inactivity. The goal of this project is twofold: 1) characterize perceptions of healthy somatotypes across generations in Mexican-Americans, and 2) determine the association between somatotype and physical activity in Mexican American children across developmental stages. We will survey 210 Mexican-American children, parents, and when possible grandparents regarding their perceptions of healthy somatotypes (endomorphy, mesophorphy, and ectomorphy) across development stages using Stunkard scales and figural stimuli. Social norms and cultural attitudes about somatotypes will be described. We will also conduct anthropometric measurements and assess physical activity levels via self-report and accelerometry in children spanning the developmental spectrum. Data from this study will establish the groundwork for future research and intervention studies aimed at increasing physical activity in youth thereby reducing risk of chronic disease.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss perceptions of healthy somatotypes across generations in Mexican-Americans. 2. Describe the association between somatotype and physical activity in Mexican American children across developmental stages

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: conduct research into obesity and have published and presented on same.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.