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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2014, Article ID 328276, 7 pages
Research Article

Perception of Childhood Obesity and Support for Prevention Policies among Latinos and Whites

1Center for Global Health and Development, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4341, USA
2Department of Health Promotion and Social and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984365 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4365, USA
3University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4355, USA
4Institute for Health Promotion Research, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA

Received 1 April 2014; Accepted 2 June 2014; Published 19 June 2014

Academic Editor: Mark A. Pereira

Copyright © 2014 Douglas M. Puricelli Perin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A cross-sectional survey was administered to Latino and White residents of Omaha, NE, to assess perception of the childhood obesity problem, attribution of responsibility, and support for obesity-related policies. The sample included 40.8% ( ) Latinos and 59.2% ( ) Whites. Among Latinos, 25% did not see childhood obesity as a problem, compared to 6% of Whites ( ). This difference persisted after adjusting for age, gender, and education level (odds ratio (OR) 2.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–4.14). Latinos were more likely to agree that government was responsible for addressing childhood obesity compared to Whites (OR 2.81, 95% CI 1.82–4.35). Higher support for policy interventions was observed among individuals who perceived childhood obesity as a big problem compared to those who did not, independent of race, sex, age, or education level. The relationship between support for tax-based policies and perception of the childhood obesity problem was mainly evident among Latinos rather than Whites. Despite city-wide efforts to address obesity, differential penetration in community subgroups appears evident. There is room to further engage Latinos in the cause of obesity. Deepening community awareness about the consequences and complexity of childhood obesity can lead to stronger support for childhood obesity policy interventions.