Evidence-Based Obesity Treatment Interventions for Latino Adults in the U.S.

A Systematic Review


      Latinos have one of the highest prevalences of obesity in the U.S. Efforts to address U.S. Latino health have expanded to include obesity prevention and treatment initiatives. The objectives of this review were to (1) conduct a systematic review of obesity-related treatment interventions targeting U.S. Latino adults and (2) develop evidence-based recommendations to inform culturally relevant strategies for obesity treatment targeting U.S. Latino adults.

      Evidence acquisition

      Obesity treatment interventions, published between 1990 and 2010, were identified through a systematic search of electronic databases conducted between January 2010 and December 2011. Details of the screening process and selection/exclusion criteria are reported in the Guide to Obesity Prevention in Latin America and the U.S. (GOL) parent study.

      Evidence synthesis

      Of the 325 studies identified in the GOL parent study, 105 met the inclusion criteria, and 22 involved obesity treatment interventions for Latinos and were included in the present review. The 22 studies were evaluated (between January 2010 and December 2011) for strength of study design and execution; effect sizes were also estimated for treatment effects on obesity-related outcomes. Interventions for physical activity or diet behavioral changes with strong or sufficient evidence included (1) community-based, culturally relevant, RCTs, and non-randomized controlled trials; (2) church-based interventions; and (3) promotora-led interventions.


      Most interventions targeted physical activity and/or diet behavioral modification in Latinas and were led by bicultural/bilingual professionals. Potential key intervention settings include community clinics/centers and churches. Although there was limited literature on obesity treatment interventions for U.S. Latinos, the review findings provide valuable insight to researchers and practitioners involved in obesity treatment for U.S. Latino adults.
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