We are thrilled to share an exciting research project called HEALthy4You (ACEs) we developed in partnership with Family Health Centers of San Diego and other groups connected with the San Diego Childhood Obesity Initiative (SDCOI). HEALthy4You stands for “Healing Experiences of Adversity in Latinos” and addresses adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This project was born from the SDCOI, as its members were interested in addressing the root causes of childhood obesity. This groundbreaking study aims to revolutionize the Healthy Together (Juntos Mas Sanos) Program, helping families thrive in more ways than one.

The hypothesis behind the project suggests that by combining effective parenting training, support from dedicated Promotoras (Community Health Workers), or integrating both, we can significantly enhance protective factors within families. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of four groups to ensure an accurate evaluation. All four groups will receive the standardized Healthy Together Program as a baseline (control). This comprehensive program includes access to a case manager, social work navigation, community resource support, health education, and group exercise classes. The effectiveness of parenting support and promotora assistance will be assessed based on the survey results obtained from each group after six months.

While we place the individual at the center of our study, we acknowledge their integration within a broader community framework. Their surroundings profoundly influence the health of our participants. For instance, if their community lacks access to fresh, healthy food sources, perhaps they live in a neighborhood experiencing a food apartheid, the rates of childhood obesity tend to rise. To tackle this issue, we partnered with Streetwyze, a unique web-based platform akin to “Yelp” for public health. Participants can “check in” at various locations in their community, sharing insights about what requires improvement, what needs attention, and what’s already going well. This invaluable tool allows community members to express their experiences and provide valuable feedback to policymakers, empowering them to drive meaningful change. Streetwyze firmly believes that our voices are catalysts for transformation in our communities.

Our ultimate goal is to develop precision interventions that are community-centered and culturally appropriate, which can be seamlessly integrated into federally qualified healthcare centers for Latino families. HEALthy4You (ACEs) stands out as an innovative program that transcends traditional approaches to childhood obesity. We don’t just focus on weight loss; we empower families to strengthen their bond with their community and children. We guide parents toward sustainable, healthier lifestyles for their families through engaging parenting sessions, dedicated promotora support, and participation in Streetwyze. This model not only benefits medical providers but also fosters community understanding of the bigger picture when it comes to addressing childhood obesity.


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