Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behaviors

Youjie Zhang and Patty Arellano Brazyz (Nutrition Graduate Students), are working with Marla Reicks and other Extension faculty and staff on a 5-year project to prevent obesity among Latino adolescents. This project engages families, especially fathers, and their children (10–14 years) in a culturally- and linguistically-appropriate prevention program through Latino-serving community organizations in urban and rural Minnesota.

The program focuses on improving youth energy balance-related behaviors by increasing parent involvement in positive parenting practices. The multidisciplinary team, with nutrition and parenting expertise, is adapting an existing parenting skills program to help parents provide a supportive physical and social environment for healthy eating and physical activity, and role model and set expectations for energy balance-related behaviors. These include eating more fruits and vegetables, fewer salty snacks and sweets including sugar-sweetened beverages, and fast foods, and increasing participation in family meals and physical activity and reducing screen time.

In the first phase, they are adapting, pre-testing, and revising an existing curriculum, and developing program evaluation protocols. The program will be implemented in communities in the second phase (years 2-4), with outcome data analysis and reporting in year 5.

For more information, visit the program website.