Summit Highlights Progress in Reducing Obesity among Latino Children

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 12, 2011) – Investigators from across the nation will unveil progress in their efforts to reduce Latino childhood obesity and improve Latino nutrition, fitness, and healthy lifestyles during Texas Obesity Awareness Week at the 3rd Annual Salud America! Scientific Summit on Sept. 15-16, 2011, at the Hotel Contessa in San Antonio.

Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children, is led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

In 2009, the program funded 20 grantee researchers to craft, test or evaluate strategies to reduce obesity in Latino schools, families and communities and inform policy debates.

Now these researchers—including one from San Antonio and four others from Texas—will show off their progress at the summit.

The event is by invitation only, but media members are welcome to attend.

“Our 20 Salud America! grantees are making significant progress on a variety of nutrition, physical activity and policy issues affecting Latinos,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, DrPH, director of both Salud America! and the IHPR. “They’re using their pilot projects to get a foothold at their institutions and build up their careers in childhood obesity research. Many of them already are preparing to embark on larger-scale, and hopefully more influential, work.”

Thursday, September 15, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Panels on grantee research results (10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:40 p.m.)
  • Speech: “Targeted Food Marketing to Ethnic Minority youth in the Context of Obesity,” Dr. Sonya Grier, American University (1:30 p.m.)
  • Panel: “Using New Technologies and Tools to Reduce Childhood Obesity,” Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, IHPR at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio; Dr. Terry Huang, University of Nebraska Medical Center; and Dr. Chris Fulcher, University of Missouri (4:30 p.m.)

Friday, September 16, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., CST

  • Panels on grantee research results (8:10 a.m., 10 a.m.)
  • Speech: “Building Effective Leadership Skills,” Dr. Laura Santana, Center for Creative Leadership (9 a.m.)


Hotel Contessa
306 W. Market Street
San Antonio, Texas


  • Dr. Meizi He, UT San Antonio, “Building a Healthy Temple—A Faith-Based Community Participatory Research Project for Preventing Childhood Obesity Among Latino Families”
  • Dr. Cristina Barroso, University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville, “Body Image Perceptions Among Latinos”
  • Dr. Nelda Mier, Texas A&M Health Science Center, “Assessing the Built Environment in Colonias to Influence Policy Promoting Physical Activity in Mexican-American Children and Families”
  • Dr. Norma Olvera, University of Houston, “From Mothers to Daughters: A Physical Activity Dosage Intervention to Impact Adiposity”
  • Dr. Carmen Nevarez, Public Health Institute, California, “Evaluation of the Impact of a Menu-Labeling Program in South Los Angeles”
  • Dr. Dharma Cortes, University of Massachusetts Boston, “Esto es Mejor: Improving Food Purchasing Selection Among Low-Income, Spanish-Speaking Latinos Through Social Marketing Messages”

AGENDA: A full event description and agenda can be found at

LATE SEPTEMBER: Salud America! will release 20 research briefs from of its grantee researchers on its website,

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

The Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio investigates the causes and solutions to the unequal impact of cancer and chronic disease among certain populations, including Latinos, in San Antonio, South Texas and the nation. The IHPR, founded in 2006, uses evidence-guided research, training and community outreach to improve the health of those at a disadvantage due to race/ethnicity or social determinants, such as education or income. The IHPR is the headquarters for Salud America!, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program aims to unite and increase the number of Latino researchers, policy-makers and community leaders engaged in research on childhood obesity among Latinos to seek environmental and policy solutions to the epidemic. Visit the IHPR online at or follow its blog at

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