Latina Voices in Childhood Obesity

Latina mothers identify barriers to children being physically active and find their voice to advocate for changes.

Preventing childhood obesity among South Carolina’s growing Latino population should address sociocultural aspects of the community. To capture the opinions of Latina mothers, this project in West Columbia used a community-based participatory research method called Photovoice. Latino mothers over the course of two months took pictures and wrote descriptions to identify aspects of their neighborhood that presented barriers for their children’s physical activity.

Mothers depicted unsafe neighborhods, traffic, fast cars, vacant lots, broken play equipment, and cheap fast food as neighborhood characteristics that contribute to inactivity and obesity. These helped generate policy recommendations for improvements.

In addition, mothers also proposed to improve their family diets; advocate for better equipment in public parks; building of community sidewalks; and increasing neighborhood police presence.