Migration as a determinant of childhood obesity in the United States and Latin America

Mireya Vilar-Compte, Arturo V. Bustamante, Nancy López-Olmedo, Pablo Gaitán-Rossi, Jaqueline Torres, Karen E. Peterson, Graciela Teruel, Rafael Pérez-Escamilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


International migration has economic and health implications. The acculturation process to the host country may be linked to childhood obesity. We use the Community Energy Balance (CEB) framework to analyze the relationship between migration and childhood obesity in Mexican households with international migrants. Using longitudinal data from the Mexican Family Life Survey (MxFLS), we examine how migrant networks affect childhood obesity in origin communities. We also review binational health programs that could be effective at tackling childhood obesity in migrant households from Mexico. Children embedded in migrant networks are at greater risk of developing overweight or obesity, suggesting a significant relationship between childhood obesity and international migration in Mexican households. Based on our search criteria, our analysis of health outreach programs shows that Ventanillas de Salud (VDS)/Health Windows has great promise to prevent childhood obesity in a culturally sensitive and trustful environment. The CEB framework is useful to understand how migration contributes to the risk of childhood overweight and obesity in migrant households. VDS is a feasible and replicable strategy with great potential to address childhood obesity among migrant families accounting for the dynamic and binational determinants of childhood obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13240
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue numberS3
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • CEB framework
  • childhood obesity
  • international migration
  • outreach


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