- Cristina Palacios, MSc, PhD
- Alexandra Reyes, MEd, RDN
- Maribel Campos, MD, MBA, MSc FAAP
Research Project Description
Childhood obesity is an important public health problem in Puerto Rico (PR). Low participation in nutritional education for parents is a challenge encumbered by the PR-WIC program to achieve obesity prevention. In 2016, the educational component was mainly provided through in-person sessions. Another major hurdle was the alignment of the health education messages and clinical assessments with other healthcare professionals. In this research project’s formative phase, WIC participants expressed their preference to use a website as a tool to deliver the nutrition education. As part of this mixed-method study participants also reported confusion caused by conflicting nutrition recommendations from different health professionals.
Therefore, this team sought to address how to promote healthy lifestyles among children participating in the PR WIC program to prevent early childhood obesity through multiple means: (1) Assist in the development of a webpage for delivering the nutritional education and its evaluation through a randomized control trial; (2) Motivational interviews to health professionals to determine their perception about WIC, causes of childhood obesity, barriers to achieving childhood obesity prevention and readiness/willingness for change in the current care model; (3) Provide educational activities to bridge the gap on evidence based guidelines and resources available to all health professionals involved in childhood obesity prevention; and (4) Change in public policy to build all stakeholders knowledge for childhood obesity prevention. This team expects that these activities will help in the development of a culture of health for childhood obesity prevention in PR.
Watch the Team Video
Cristina Palacios, MSc, PhD
Cristina Palacios is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International University. She is an expert in nutrition research, particularly in testing the effects of diet interventions on bone health and body composition in children and adolescents.
Alexandra Reyes, MEd, RDN
Alexandra Reyes is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in the WIC Program of Puerto Rico. She is an expert in nutrition education, breastfeeding, pregnancy and child nutrition and infant feeding practices.
Maribel Campos, MD, MBA, MSc FAAP
Maribel Campos is a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus and is Board Certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal Perinatal Medicine. Her areas of research endeavors include developmental origins of disease, early infant growth, effects of intrauterine Zika exposure and clinical trials.
Issue Brief: Puerto Rico
Transforming the Puerto Rico WIC Program to Improve the Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles in Early Childhood