“The nation cannot afford to ignore the obesity crisis and its [health] consequences–especially among Hispanics, a fast-growing population that has a prevalence of being obese. Cheap fast food, a lack of safe areas to exercise in their neighborhoods and fatty diets contribute to Hispanics’ expanding waistlines.” So says Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), a nonprofit association of Hispanic physicians which recently launched a major national public awareness campaign aimed at reducing obesity in this high-risk population.

The campaign, conducted in partnership with the Office of Minority Health, kicks off in Galveston, Texas–a state where one in four Hispanic children is obese, compared to only one in 10 Caucasian kids. Through its member physicians, its Council of Medical Societies and local Hispanic medical students, NHMA will focus on educating patients and the public about diet, nutrition and exercise. The program will then expand to four other locations with sizable Hispanic populations: El Paso, Miami, New York and California.

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