Abstract: Pediatric obesity in the United States has been steadily rising over the past few decades, and it is a clear risk factor for adult obesity and obesity-related morbidity and mortality. A review of the literature from three major national databases reveals that the prevalence rates of obesity within Latino male children and adolescents is, in general, higher than other major gender-ethnic groups. Additionally, obese Latino male youth seem to be especially prone to a variety of obesity-related morbidities. Given the rising percentage of Latinos among our nation's youth, there is an urgency to develop and implement clinical and community research strategies to prevent and treat obesity within this high-risk gender-ethnic group. This article reviews the prevalence of pediatric obesity within the three largest databases in the U.S. with Latino representation. The paper then discusses unique issues in the etiology and ramifications of obesity within young Latino-American boys, reviews the few intervention studies that focus on Latino youth, and discusses potential strategies for further research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We realize that there is a controversy regarding the proper terminology to label children with BMI ≥85th percentile based on CDC standards. In the past, the recommendation had been to use the term “at risk for overweight” to define youth between the 85th and 95th percentile and “overweight” to define youth at ≥95th percentile. However, in 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) made the recommendation to use the term “obese” to define those at ≥95th percentile. Additionally, the terms of “overweight” to define those between the 85th and 95th percentile and the term “obese” to define those at ≥95th percentile will be recommended by an upcoming report (anticipated release date of December 2007) endorsed by a number of national organizations. These upcoming recommendations were developed by an Expert Committee convened by the American Medical Association. Funding for the project was provided by the American Medical Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.