Obesity among Hispanics in Texas
The Public Health Issue
Obesity is a condition characterized by excessive fat in the body. Obesity is defined as
the condition that occurs when the body Mass Index is 30 or more. In the USA, obesity affects
93.3 million adult people, representing a prevalence rate of 39.8%. The condition’s prevalence
increases with age and is highest between the ages of 40 to 59 years (Hales, Carroll, Fryar, &
Ogden, 2017). The prevalence of the condition changes with race. The rate of prevalence is 47%
among Hispanics as compared to 38.0% among the non-Hispanics in the USA.
Obesity has significant economic implications. In the USA, the total annual expenditure
on the prevention, management and treatment of the condition is 147 billion US Dollars
(Finkelstein, Trogdon, Cohen, & Dietz, 2018). People diagnosed with obesity spend $1,439 more
than non-obese people, annually, in the USA.
Obesity is associated the several comorbidities. The conditions that occur with obesity
increase its mortality and morbidity rates. There are several factors of obesity that increase the
risk of comorbidities (Ogden et al., 2017). The factors are; the uneven distribution of fat
deposits, increase in pressure on the abdomen, and advanced age at the time of onset.
Demographics of the Population
Hispanics are the largest single racial group residing in Texas State. Hispanics make up
39.4 % of the state’s population. Hispanics are 11.1 million in total, in Texas. The Hispanics
inhabit several towns in Texas but are more concentrated in some areas such as Roma (U.S.
Census Bureau, 2019). Hispanics of Mexican origin make 88% of all the Hispanics in Texas. The
rest originated from Southern and Central American countries. The mean age among the
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Hispanics in Texas is 34.4 years (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019). 27.2% of the population has
attained university or college education, while 17.8% of the population has not achieved at least
high school education. 16.2% of the Hispanic population living in Texas lives below the poverty
line. 62% of the Hispanics living in Texas live in owned homes (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019). The
average household income among the Hispanics is $57051 per year.
Based on the Hispanic population demographic data, physical activities is an health need
associated with obesity in the population. Physical activities reduce the prevalence and risk of
several conditions including obesity (Xiang, Yang, & Yan, 2016). The high prevalence of
obesity among the Hispanics in Texas is an indication that the population does not perform the
physical exercise as required. One of the factors that affect the adherence to guidelines on
physical exercises is advanced age. The majority of the Hispanics in Texas are 40 to 59 years.
Further, higher educational levels positively influence adherence to physical exercise guidelines.
Among the Hispanics living in Texas, only about 27% have attained bachelor’s degrees while a
considerable portion of 17.2% has not attained high school education (U.S. Census Bureau,
Performance of physical exercise needs to be addressed among the Hispanics in Texas, to
reduce prevalence obesity. Appropriate moderate to vigorous physical exercises need to be
prescribed to the appropriate age groups and based on health status (Xiang, Yang, & Yan, 2016).
The prevalent obesity among the Hispanics living in Texas is an indication of lack of policies to
increase access to physical exercise facilities. Further, the environmental and structural facilities
need to be made available to the targeted population group.
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The failure to maintain a healthy diet is a health need associated with obesity among the
Hispanics living in Texas. Consumption of nutritional foods is critical in maintaining healthy
body weight. Obesity is developed by the consumption of food that is not balanced and high
caloric content (Ogden et al., 2017). Nutritionally imbalanced foods that are high in the caloric
content are risk factors to the development of obesity and another associated disease such as
stroke, hypertension and osteoarthritis. “Health People 2020” recommendations reflect the
association between eating habits and the development of obesity and assisted diseases (Ogden et
al., 2017). Evidence shows that populations with a high prevalence of obesity, such as the
Hispanics, eat foods that are high in saturated fats, calories and cholesterol. Nutrition is dictated
by culture. Hispanics have a given culture, practice including foods.
The Hispanic race is another risk factor that is associated with obesity The Hispanics are
at risk of developing obesity than any other racial group in the USA. Racial predisposing of
Hispanic to obesity is consistent across all the age groups (Ogden et al., 2017). Further, among
the female’s Hispanic women and girls are at the highest risks on obesity compared to people
from any other race in the same age group and gender.
Prevalent Gaps Identified
Unhealthy nutrition is one of the gaps that have been identified main the Hispanics as
contributing factors towards obesity. The evidence of prevalent obesity among Hispanics is an
indication of potential unhealthy eating habits. According to healthy people 2020, to achieve and
maintain healthy body weights, a healthy diet consisting of foods form a variety of sources is key
(Ogden et al., 2017). Therefore, the culture needs to be addressed. The efforts to promote healthy
nurturing among Hispanics should take place across several setting such as schools, workplaces
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and communities. The culture that promotes the consumption of an imbalanced diet that is high
in calories needs to be discouraged.
There are federal level guidelines on physical exercises. The state-level physical exercise
guidelines in Texas have been adopted to form the federal guidelines. According to the
guidelines, preschool children should be active all through the daily (Xiang, Yang, & Yan,
2016). Caregivers at schools should encourage variety of activities for the children to engage in.
Children and adolescents should spend at least 60 minutes each day and 3 days a week
performing moderate to vigorous-intensity physical aerobic muscle and bone-strengthening
exercises. Adults should spend approximately 75 to 150 minutes a day performing vigorous-
intensity exercises and 150 to 300 minutes doing moderate-intensity exercises (Xiang, Yang, &
Yan, 2016). The older adult should determine their fitness and acknowledge chronic conditions
that affect their ability to perform physical exercises.
The guidelines provide standards on physical activities and time to perform each one of
them. The uniformity encourages the participation of several members of the population.
Guidelines are the basis of local guidelines on physical exercises (Xiang, Yang, & Yan, 2016).
The federal and local guidelines on physical exercises are important in supporting the
development of infrastructure to facilitate performance of the prescribed physical exercises.
The “2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines” provide federal activities on healthy eating.
Generally, people should consider the food that includes all food types and beverages. Foods
should include low or free fat, whole grains, oils and dairy products free of fat. Each individual
should consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fats and sugars (US Department of
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Health and Human Services, 2017). Alcohol should be consumed moderately by individuals
within the legal age.
Cultural Values and Practices
Food, as a cultural element, is a value and practice that is relevant in this program.
Obesity is characterized by increased fat deposition in the body. Therefore, nutrition plays a key
role in the development of obesity. Food that is high in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol
increases weight gain. Top dishes common among the Hispanic include rice, sweet potatoes, root
vegetables, and corn (Betancourt, Green, & Carrillo, 2016). Most of these dishes contain calories
at high content. The preparation of dish has such foods requires additional ingredients such as fat
and salt. Therefore, to address obesity through, the Hispanic in Texas should be educated on the
nutritional value of their staple foods and how to prepare healthy foods at the right amounts of
the ingredients. Cultural competence is important in addressing obesity among Hispanics in
Texas (Betancourt, Green, & Carrillo, 2016). Cultural competence will increase the
understanding on the population’s foods and their implications in the development of obesity.
The interventions will aim at educating the population and modifying the culture.
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Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., &. Carrillo, J. E., (2016). Defining cultural competence: a
practical framework for addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care.
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Finkelstein, E. A., Trogdon, J. G., Cohen, J. W., & Dietz, W. (2018). Annual Medical Spending
Attributable To Obesity: Payer-And Service-Specific Estimates: Amid calls for health
reform, real cost savings are more likely to be achieved through reducing obesity and
related risk factors. Health affairs, 28(Suppl1), w822-w831.
Hales, C. M., Carroll, M. D., Fryar, C. D., & Ogden, C. L. (2017). Prevalence of obesity among
adults and youth: United States, 2015–2016.
Ogden, C. L., Fakhouri, T. H., Carroll, M. D., Hales, C. M., Fryar, C. D., Li, X., & Freedman, D.
S. (2017). Prevalence of obesity among adults, by household income and
education—United States, 2011–2014. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report,
U.S. Census Bureau ( 2019, July 1). American FactFinder . Retrieved September 29, 2019, from
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Xiang, X., Yang, Y., & Yan, H. (2016). Mapping the prevalence of physical inactivity in US
states, 1984-2015. PloS one, 11(12), e0168175.