Peers important for nutrition education among Latinos

Jul 15, 2008

A systematic literature review conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut, the Hispanic Health Council (Hartford), and the Connecticut Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos assessed the impact of peer education/counseling on nutrition and health outcomes among Latinos living in the United States. The results, published in the July/August issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, provide evidence that peer nutrition education has a positive influence on diabetes self-management and breastfeeding outcomes, as well as on general nutrition knowledge and dietary intake behaviors, among Latinos in the US.

"Overall, these nutrition education demonstration studies suggest that peer education has the potential to change dietary behaviors among Latinos," commented lead investigator Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD. "There is a need to better understand how nutrition peer educators can be formally incorporated into the health care system within the Chronic Care Model community health worker (CHW) framework." Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, accounting for more than 12% of the population, and they are expected to be nearly 25% of the population by 2050. Latinos also have less access to nutritionally adequate and safe food—compared to 7.8% of non-Latino white individuals, almost 20% of Latinos are food insecure.

The group's findings are consistent with studies conducted with non-Latino white and black individuals, which suggests that it is important to formally incorporate peer nutrition educators as part of the CHW framework and to integrate them as part of US public health and clinical health care management. This strategy could contribute to addressing the health disparities that seriously affect Latinos, as well as other minority groups.

Additionally, this review produced the surprising finding that researchers could not identify any experimental or quasi-experimental study assessing the impact of the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (FSNE) on Latinos, even though this major program has been in place for over a decade. As many states include peer nutrition educators as part for their FSNE delivery strategies, this represents a major gap in knowledge.

Researchers also found a need for longitudinal randomized trials testing the impact of peer nutrition education interventions for Latinos grounded on goal setting and culturally appropriate behavioral change theories. Operational research is needed to identify the optimal peer educator characteristics, the type of training that they should receive, the client loads and dosage (ie, frequency and amount of contact needed between peer educator and client) and the best educational approaches and delivery settings.

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...