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The U.S. Latino population is growing rapidly, and Latino preschool children have the highest rates of obesity compared with their other racial/ethnic counterparts. Physical activity is associated with improved health outcomes in young children, and Latino preschool children’s physical activity is strongly correlated with parental physical activity levels. Physical activity interventions, especially those with a parent component, are particularly well suited for Latino preschool children and may help address this disparity. The author reviewed seven intervention studies and three protocol studies that targeted Latino preschool children and included a parent intervention component and physical activity as outcome variables. An interpretation of the findings of these studies, as well as critical questions for research and policy, are discussed.
The author is with the Dept. of Health & Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.