Obesity Among Hispanic Schoolchildren Essay

Obesity Among Hispanic Schoolchildren Essay

Obesity Among Hispanic Schoolchildren Essay

Obesity Among Hispanic Schoolchildren of The Lower Rio Grande Valley

The Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), which runs along the US-Mexican border between Texas and Mexico and winds its way to the Gulf of Mexico, is primarily populated by Hispanics of Mexican descent, including both immigrants from Mexico and those with Mexican ancestors (US Census Bureau, 2021). Majority of this population are overweight with childhood obesity contributing a larger percentage of this number (Aguayo-Mazzucato et al., 2019).

The Gulf of Mexico to the east and the Rio Grande River to the south define this region, which includes Hidalgo, Cameron, Starr, and Willacy counties near Texas’ southernmost tip. Most of these people practice Mexican culture with minor influence from the surrounding American culture (US Census Bureau, 2021). Most of the inhabitants of this area speak Spanish at home with few speaking English outside their homes. Poverty is one of the characteristics of the region with the region registering the lowest per capita income. The state of education attainment in also alarming with only less than 12% of the population having attained the Bachelor’s degree. Majority of the population is made up of the youth with a median age of about 27 (US Census Bureau, 2021).


The culture of the Hispanic Americans living in USA has shown to be one of the predisposing factors to obesity (Forrest et al., 2017). Comparison to their counter-part in Mexico has shown that those in USA are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to those in Mexico. Historically, Hispanic Mexicans had a notion that being overweight is a sign of health. This link between health and weight gain is strongly ingrained in Hispanic culture and may be traced all the way back to childhood (Forrest et al., 2017). Among the Hispanic Mexican women, the idea of having “curvy” body figure is one of the major problems that is predisposed them to obesity. This distorted and inaccurate body image makes it difficult for them to perceive their own true weights (Forrest et al., 2017). Consequently, childhood obesity becomes one of the major health concerns in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Ismaeel et al., 2018).



Bowie Elementary School in the Lower Rio Grande Valley was selected based on purposive random sampling. 100 school going children between the age of 6 to 10 years were randomly selected and their height and weight measured. The results were then analyzed using the BMI-for-age percentiles method.


Out of the 100 randomly selected students of Bowie Elementary school, 12 students were found to be obese. 15 students were found to be overweight.

The Lower Rio Grande Valley Community

The population of the Lower Rio Grande Valley generally reflect on the Hispanic Mexicans inhabiting the American side of the US-Mexico border. Young people make up the majority of the population, with the majority of them living abject poverty. Obesity as a public health hazard is reflected in the prevalence of childhood obesity (Ismaeel et al., 2018 Obesity Among Hispanic Schoolchildren Essay). The majority of current students acknowledged to eating fast food in local restaurants, with soft drinks such as Coca Cola being reported as the commonly consumed drinks alongside snacks.

Most people in this community work in local businesses and use public means for transport. The school going population study in the local education institutions. The presence of large number of youths within the age bracket of attending schools indicates that there is a large number of drop-outs. Social interactions between people of the same age-group appears as a common norm with individuals seemingly settle in groups of the same age groups. There are few physical activities going on the community in terms of sports taking place in the regions portrayed by empty basketball courts and football ground

Population at Risk of Obesity

The Hispanic schoolchildren were the selected population under the windshield survey. The school going children were between the age of 6 and 11 years from the randomly selected Bowie Elementary School. The population was at risk of being affected to by obesity due to the fact that most school going children are uninformed about the health-related issues (Ismaeel et al., 2018). Children of this age are also at risk of adopting bad feeding habits and therefore end up being obese (Ismaeel et al., 2018). Their lowest hierarchical age group also means that they are not involved in making most of the decisions regarding food intake and physical activities. This, as Medina-Remón et al. (2018) notes, predisposes such individuals to the risks of obesity.

The Hispanic Mexican population of Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) is built on ideals derived from their historical hunters and gatherers character, where individuals must work hard to make a life (US Census Bureau, 2021). When instilled in early children, the community’s hardworking attitude can play an essential part in ensuring that children are hardworking and competitive in their daily physical activities, keeping them in check in terms of body fitness.


Obesity in a population is determined by multitude of factors, including working culture, feeding culture, and general appearance culture, in addition to genetics. Obesity is a major risk factor for a variety of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, among others. As a result, obesity plays a critical role in defining a population’s health. A community, on the other hand, can play an essential role in regulating the health of its members by enforcing healthy behaviors that may cause obesity.

Obesity Among Hispanic Schoolchildren Essay References

Aguayo-Mazzucato, C., Diaque, P., Hernandez, S., Rosas, S., Kostic, A., & Caballero, A. E. (2019). Understanding the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the Hispanic population living in the United States. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews35(2), e3097. https://doi.org/10.1002/dmrr.3097

Forrest, K. Y. Z., Leeds, M. J., & Ufelle, A. C. (2017). Epidemiology of obesity in the Hispanic adult population in the United States. Family & Community Health40(4), 291–297.

Ismaeel, A., Weems, S., McClendon, M., & Morales, F. E. (2018). Interventions aimed at decreasing obesity in Hispanic children in the first 1000 days: A systematic review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health20(5), 1288–1293. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-017-0672-7

Medina-Remón, A., Kirwan, R., Lamuela-Raventós, R. M., & Estruch, R. (2018). Dietary patterns and the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and neurodegenerative diseases. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition58(2), 262–296. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2016.1158690

US Census Bureau. (2021). Race and ethnicity in the United States: 2010 Census and 2020 Census. https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/race-and-ethnicity-in-the-united-state-2010-and-2020-census.html