The University of Texas at Austin Latino Research Initiative

About PODER

Promoting obesity prevention among children with developmental disabilities and families through engaged research (PODER)


Project Summary: 

Obesity is a growing problem for all children in the United States; the CDC reports that one in six children and adolescents are obese. Obese and overweight children are at a higher risk of having chronic health conditions such as asthma, joint problems, heart disease risk factors, and type 2 diabetes, and for being obese as adults. Children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are more likely to be obese than non-disabled children. In addition to this, there are racial and ethnic disparities with respect to children and obesity and Latino children have higher rates of obesity than white children.

There is very limited research on the health and obesity among Latino children and adolescents with IDD. This research address the intersection of Latino ethnicity and IDD among children and adolescents.

We will address this gap in research by conducting three studies to examine health, obesity, and health behaviors among children and adolescents with IDD and their maternal caregivers, and develop and test an intervention for Latino children and adolescents with IDD and their families to promote healthy lifestyles.

The first study will examine social determinants that contribute to poor health and obesity among Latino and African American children and adolescents with IDD using the National Survey of Children’s Health. The second study will gather important baseline information among Latino children and adolescents with IDD and their families through a two-site cross-sectional study that will collect rigorous data on physical activity, nutrition, height, weight and waist circumference, family environmental factors and cultural practices. The third study will merge two evidence-based interventions, one designed for Latino caregivers of children with IDD and the other designed for Latino children and adolescents with IDD and their families, to develop a new intervention that integrates caregivers, children with IDD and their families.  The newly developed study will be tested through a small randomized control trial.

This study will establish important findings about Latino children with IDD and their family caregivers, and will develop evidence-based approaches to promote health and prevent obesity among Latino children and youth with IDD. Our dissemination and training activities will contribute towards disseminating findings about Latino children with IDD and health, and scaling up the intervention by creating train the trainer programs.

This research addresses the intersection of Latino ethnicity and IDD among children and adolescents. We will address this gap in research by conducting three studies to examine health, obesity, and health behaviors among children and adolescents with IDD and their maternal caregivers, and develop and test an intervention for Latino children and adolescents with IDD and their families to promote healthy lifestyles. The first study will examine social determinants that contribute to poor health and obesity among Latino and African American children and adolescents with IDD using the National Survey of Children’s Health. The second study will gather important baseline information among Latino children and adolescents with IDD and their families through a two-site cross-sectional study that will collect rigorous data on physical activity, nutrition, height, weight and waist circumference, family environmental factors and cultural practices. The third study will merge two evidence-based interventions, one designed for Latino caregivers of children with IDD and the other designed for Latino children and adolescents with IDD and their families, to develop a new intervention that integrates caregivers, children with IDD and their families. The newly developed study will be tested through a small randomized control trial.


Project Details: 

Project Title: PODER: Promoting obesity prevention among children with developmental disabilities and families through engaged research
Funder(s): National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
Project Period: 2019-2024