The Obama administration just allocated another $10.8 million to tackle childhood obesity among minorities, including about $1 million to a project called “Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behavior” that aims to prevent obesity among Latino youth in a “culturally and linguistically-appropriate prevention program.” It’s part of a federal initiative called Childhood Obesity Challenge Area that has doled out north of $166 million since the president and his wife launched it in 2011.
The cash flows through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and funds all sorts of outrageous projects like the disastrous “healthy” public-school lunches that have resulted in massive waste and caused uproar among students and parents. First Lady Michelle Obama made it her mission to tackle this particular cause because child and adolescent obesity has tripled in the past 30 years, according to information released by the USDA’s special Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area. “Low income children and adolescents are more likely to be obese than their higher income counterparts, but the relationship is not consistent across race and ethnicity groups,” the agency states.
To deal with this epidemic the administration has dedicated a lot of taxpayer money, more than $166 million, according to USDA figures. This latest chunk is going to six universities that will find innovative ways to eradicate childhood obesity among this demographic. The “Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behavior” project is getting $998,484 so that academics at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis can conduct an eight-week study that addresses “paternal parenting practices related to the food and physical activity environment in the home.”
Researchers claim that participation will “increase father involvement in positive parenting practices to address youth energy balance-related behaviors.” It appears that they convinced Uncle Sam to fund their project by claiming that few evidence-based interventions have specifically targeted Latino fathers of youth regarding parenting practices that impact youth behaviors. It will be modeled after another government-funded program called “Padres” designed to prevent tobacco and substance abuse among Latino youth by engaging families in culturally and linguistically-appropriate training.
The University of Kentucky will get $746,827 to develop a program called “Smart Shopping” aimed at improving the shopping practices of adolescents with the ultimate goal of increasing fruit and vegetable intake. This group of academics will conduct a community-wide analysis of the school, home and neighborhood food environments. It’s being promoted as “unique” because it will take into account the role that the school environment has in food procurement during the day and will incorporate information from multiple levels of the “social ecological framework.”
This is described as home, school and community food environments as well as the social influence of peers. The University of Maryland in Baltimore is getting $943,287 to educate and train teachers and students to be “wellness champions” that specialize in the “tenets of health literacy.” Details are sketchy on this one, but Judicial Watch will continue monitoring it.
The University of New England in Maine will get $797,995 to promote fruit and vegetable purchases and consumption by families in “under-resourced communities.” This will reduce health disparities, improve human nutrition and prevent unhealthy weight gain among children, according to the USDA announcement. Candidates will be identified through food-stamp rolls in low-income neighborhoods so they’re already getting public assistance from the government. The rest of the money is going to the University of Montana to tackle an obesity rate among Native American children that is “double that of white youth in the state” and the University of Puerto Rico to develop culturally-sensitive and age-appropriate nutrition education materials.
Though 25.5% of adolescents on the island are overweight, “budget constraints to develop culturally-specific nutrition education materials for at-risk communities limit the possibilities of an effective obesity prevention program,” according to the grant announcement. “The need for culturally-and-age-sensitive educational materials in Spanish is imperative for the success of any obesity prevention initiative.”