Hispanic children spend on average 13 hours daily “plugged in” to technology (1). This statistic is a godsend for marketers using the digital frontier and television to interact with consumers, but if they spend most of their time in the virtual world, what is the state of their health?
According to the Office of Minority Health, Hispanic Americans are more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanics; Mexican Americans more so than other Hispanic groups (2). In fact, about 78% of Mexican American men over the age of 20 are overweight or obese (2). That means less than a quarter of the population, in that age bracket, is at a normal or below average weight level. Women come in at 75% which is lower than the men but still incredibly high, especially when compared to Non-Hispanic women (2).
The overweight ratio between Mexican Americans and Non-Hispanics gets even worse in between the ages of 6-11 where Mexican American boys are 1.8 times more likely to be overweight (2), (3). This is reason for concern considering that Mexican American adults are two times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, and this could continue to increase if nothing is done to prevent child obesity rates from rising.
The silver lining in the statistics is that several organizations have started programs to educate the Hispanic population. Although a step in the right direction, more educationally-focused campaigns are needed in order to provide beneficial information to help battle against other potential weight-related problems such as high blood pressure or bad cholesterol.
Let it be clear, the purpose of this article is not to point the finger at technology, because a correlation between weight and media use has yet to be proven, but rather to inform the public of growing health concerns for Hispanic Americans.
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(1) Marcus, Mary Brophy. “Minority Kids Spend Most of Their Waking Hours Plugged in – USATODAY.com.” Your Life: Health, Fitness, Food & Self – USATODAY.com. USA Today, 08 June 2011. Web. 08 June 2011.
(2) “Obesity and Hispanic Americans – The Office of Minority Health.” The Office of Minority Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 26 Jan. 2011. Web. 08 June 2011.
(3) “OMH Content – The Office of Minority Health.” Home Page – The Office of Minority Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. 08 June 2011.