Cancer Prevention Program
Childhood obesity rates in the Lower Yakima Valley of Washington State are alarming: 34% of youth are obese compared to the state average of 23%. A large proportion of those children are Hispanic; Hispanics represent 47% of the population in Yakima County and 67% of the population in the Lower Yakima Valley. In January 2013, we received a planning grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities to build and enhance community capacity and infrastructure on childhood obesity initiatives in the Lower Yakima Valley. This project began with the community as they expressed concern at the high incidence of obesity among Hispanic children in the Valley. In the ensuing two and a half years, we used community-based participatory research to form a community advisory board, build a Steering Committee, conduct a comprehensive multi-level needs assessment, develop and institute a pilot study and evaluate our activities. In response, we are now prepared to implement the intervention activities that were successful in our pilot study into a large-scale quasi-experimental intervention trial. The multi-level interventions will include activities at the individual level, family level, school level, and community level. Activities include distributing comic books to students about healthy eating and physical activity, a multi-generational level family intervention that teaches families about healthy eating and cooking skills as well as physical activity, a variety of school events to teach children about the food industry as well as encourage them to be physically activity at small intervals in the classroom, and community activities to foster the idea of the community being a healthy place for kids.