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“Our goal must be a world in which good health is a pillar of individual well-being, national progress, and international stability and peace. This cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organizations, the business community, and civil society.”

— Kofi A. Annan, ex-Secretary-General of the United Nations

PAHEF at Work 

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PAHEF Leaders Address Obesity Prevention among Children and Youth in Mexico and the US

Dr Martorell The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) is helping combat childhood obesity in the Americas in various ways.

We’re pleased to announce that, among other nutrition experts, PAHEF board members, Drs. Reynaldo Martorell  and Fernando Mendoza, organized the Joint US-Mexico Workshop on Preventing Obesity in Children and Youth of Mexican Origin of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in Cuernavaca, Mexico last May. Also, PAHEF is delighted that two authors of the winning article of the 2003 Fred L. Soper Award for Excellence in Health Literature, Drs. Juan Rivera and Simón Barquera from Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health, also participated in this cooperative effort to address obesity among young people.

Nutrition experts and public health government officials on both sides of the board had recognized earlier the need to work together because both the US and Mexico share populations of Mexican origin and culture and the problem of obesity. This recognition resulted in a consensus to develop approaches and to learn from each other leading to the workshop in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Under Dr. Martorell’s leadership as the chair of the planning committee, selected Mexican and US leaders met to consider the possibility for an evidence-based US-Mexico obesity prevention strategy. More specifically, these workshop participants from government, the food industry, researchers, academia, foundations, and nongovernmental organizations put their heads together to discuss

  • the prevalence and associated factors for childhood obesity,
  • research and information gaps, and
  • obesity prevention solutions.

Also participants recommended a plan of action that largely revolved around setting up a US-Mexico Task Force made up of government leaders on both sides of the border to:

  • Develop a strategy to prevent obesity
  • Promote an obesity agenda with specific responsibilities and a timeline
  • Promote policies and norms that will allow environmental modifications in schools, worksites, cities, and other venues
  • Develop an educational strategy.

The participants are hoping for collaboration among the research, public health, medical, community advocacy, business, and government levels.


As a result of their efforts, a report has been produced that you can read to learn more about the workshop and suggested next steps.

We believe that the people of the Americas deserve a future where their prospects and quality of life will not be limited by chronic health problems related to obesity. With your help we can help improve their health. Won’t you help fight obesity and promote healthy lifestyles in the Americas?

* Reprinted with permission by the National Academy of Sciences, © 2007 National Academies Press

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