New collaborative project aims to reduce childhood obesity in Mexico
(Kingston, ON) - The first Mexican research trainees to participate in a new federal government initiative partnering Canadian researchers with those from the developing world are about to begin their studies at Queen's University.
CAMBIO (Canada and Mexico Battling Childhood Obesity) was launched last year as a collaborative project between researchers at Queen's and the University of Guadalajara in Mexico, with the overall goal to reduce obesity in Mexican children. The network is led by professors Ian Janssen (Queen's School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and Department of Community Health and Epidemiology) and Juan López Taylor from Guadalajara.
Margarita Safdie, inaugural recipient of the CAMBIO PhD Graduate Student Fellowship Award, comes to Queen's from the Center for Nutrition and Health Research at the National Institute of Public Health in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she worked as a researcher, faculty member and coordinator of the Master's in Public Health (Nutrition) program. Currently, she is responsible for a school-based intervention project in elementary schools in Mexico City that aims to prevent childhood obesity.
Karla Galaviz has been awarded a CAMBIO Master's Graduate Student Fellowship Award. Specializing in physical activity and health, Karla recently completed an intervention study promoting physical activity in families with obese children.
Both students will work under the supervision of Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Lucie Lévesque, whose research focuses on physical activity/exercise involvement and health promotion at the community level.
CAMBIO Postdoctoral Fellow Edtna Jáuregui joins Dr. Janssen's laboratory, where she will study population health aspects of childhood obesity such as environmental factors that contribute to obesity. Currently coordinator of the Physical Activity and Nutrition Laboratory at the University of Guadalajara, she examines growth, development and exercise in children and the development and evaluation of physical activity programs in reducing obesity and treating diabetes.
Rapid economic and social changes in Mexico are placing a severe burden on public health, Dr. Janssen notes. "Training of Mexican-based obesity researchers is a key CAMBIO undertaking," he says. "The arrival of these researchers at Queen's marks an exciting turning point in the life of the CAMBIO Project."
CAMBIO's long-term goals are to increase research capacity and knowledge transfer within Mexico, and to promote partnerships and collaborations. To achieve these goals, four key activities are being undertaken:
The project is funded through a $1.6 million Teasdale-Corti Grant from the International Development Research Council, on behalf of the Global Health Research Initiative.
(Article courtesy of Queen's Marketing & Communications and photo courtesy of Celia Russell)