Pilot program reverses weight gain in low-income Latino pre-schoolers

A woman embraces her child in Arizona.
A woman embraces her child in Arizona.
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Latino families have a new weapon to help them deal with obesity in their pre-school children.

Researchers say the pilot program at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital is the first of its kind to reverse weight gain that’s common to pre-school Latino kids in low-income families.

It’s called "Fit For Healthy Weight." The program combines physical activity, nutrition and parenting topics for the mothers of children aged 2 to 5.

A study published in the journal of Childhood Obesity says obesity rates among Mexican-American preschoolers are among the highest in the U.S., putting those kids at risk for illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure.

But when families got this specialized training, the study showed a 9 percent drop in the overall number of overweight kids.

A control group that received only a nutritional brochure experienced a 16 percent increase in the number of overweight and obese preschoolers.

Bottom line, the better trained the parents — the healthier the kids.