The prevalence of childhood obesity in Puerto Rico has been estimated to be as high as nearly 30%. This statistic demonstrates that the youth of the island territory are less fit than their counterparts in some of the unhealthiest areas of the United States. This harsh reality is not lost on locals.
Being in Puerto Rico as a GHLI Fellow, I now see how the eastern Caribbean island, and many organizations, both public and private, are taking steps to alleviate the health burden. The problem is that most efforts are conducted independently, and there are very few mechanisms in place to evaluate their effectiveness. Childhood overweight and obesity initiatives are so disjointed, in fact, that some offices at the same organization are unaware of their coworkers’ contributions to the cause.