childhood obesity, Mexican American, Latino, childhood


The problem of Latino childhood obesity is well known, and experts agree that the sooner it is addressed in a child’s life, the better. Strong evidence from nationwide studies suggests that obesity begins in infancy for Mexican Americans. National data demonstrate the dramatic increase in weight-for-recumbent length above the 95th percentile (using the NCHS growth chart) among Mexican American children between National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) (Ogden et al., 2006). High rates of childhood obesity affect the long-term health potential of children, since childhood obesity tracks into adulthood—the older the obese child, the greater the chance he or she will become an obese adult (Guo, Roche, Chumlea, Gardner, & Siervogel, 1994; Whitaker, 1997). Despite the well-documented problem of Latino early childhood obesity (Ogden, Flegal, Carroll, & Johnson, 2002), less is known about Latino family and community cultural understandings of early childhood obesity and preferred approaches to support healthy early childhood feeding, nutrition, and weight status.

Original Publication Citation

Clark, L., Johnson, S., O’Connor, M., & Lassetter, J. L. (2013). Chapter 8: Cultural aspects of Latino early childhood obesity. In C. Beck (Ed.) Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research. London, England: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Routledge Taylor & Francis Group





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor