Course Description

The course addresses a structural approach, specifically the role of local and federal health/nutrition policies, to understanding obesity in the immigrant Hispanic population, with a focus on Mexican and Mexican-American neighborhoods.

Pre-requisites: HESC 350 or permission from instructor.

This course cannot be taken for graduate credit.

This course is co-taught by two instructors and a representative from a local community-based organization. 


Required Texts and Supplementary Readings

1. Glickman, D., Parker, l. Sim, L., Del Valle Cook, H., and Miller, E. (Eds.) (2012).  Measuring Progress in Obesity Prevention: Workshop Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
2. Jackson, R.J (2012). Designing Healthy Communities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The following are additional journal articles, book chapters, and other readings that will be available via TITANium.

  • Bell and Lee. (2011). Why Place and Race Matter. Oakland: PolicyLink.
  • Dye, T. (2008). Policy Analysis: What Governments Do, Why They Do It, and What Difference It Makes, in Understanding Public Policy (12td edition.). Pearson Prentice Hall: New Jersey.
  • Dodson, Fleming, Boehmer, Haire-Joshu, Luke, and Browson. (2009). Preventing Childhood Obesity through State Policy: Qualitative Assessment of Enablers and Barriers. Journal of Public Health Policy, 30, pages 161-176.
  • Garcia, Bracho, Cantero, and Glenn (2009). “Pushing” Physical Activity, and Justice.” Preventive Medicine, 49, pages 330-333.
  • González, E. Villanueva, S. and Grills, C. (2012).  Communities Creating Healthy Environments to Combat Obesity: Preliminary Findings from Two Case Studies, Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 10, pages 88-98.
  • Kumanyika and Grier (2006). Targeting interventions for ethnic-minority and low-income populations. Future of Children, 16 (1), pages 187-207.
  • Nyberg, K., Ramirez, A, and Gallion, K. (2011). Physical Activity, Overweight, and Obesity Among Latino Youth, pages 3-13. Salud America! The Roberto Wood Johnson Foundation Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2010). A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Course Objectives

1. Understand how nutrition environments and nutrition policy influence obesity and nutrition
2. Identify obesity and nutrition interventions through federal nutrition programs and policies
3. Synthesize how social, service, and built environments in combination with individual psychosocial factors affect   eating behaviors, physical activity and childhood obesity in Hispanic children
4. Demonstrate the disproportionate amounts of unhealthier food service and built environments in Hispanic neighborhoods relative to other neighborhoods
5. Analyze the role of public policies in exposing Hispanic neighborhoods to unhealthy food service and built environments
6. Demonstrate a continuum of effective obesity interventions in Hispanic neighborhoods


Learning Goals

By completing the course readings, assignments, attending lectures and taking exams, the student will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the interplay between health policy, nutrition policy and health disparities.
2. Distinguish various nutrition environments and policies in relation to childhood obesity.
3. Identify how social, food/beverage, and built environments impact childhood obesity.
4. Demonstrate critical thinking to understand how living conditions and policies expose working-class Hispanics to unhealthful environments and limit the same opportunities to make health-promoting eating and physical activity choices as those enjoyed by more affluent groups.
5. Evaluate the role of program and policy interventions in improving food/beverage environment and built environment policies in Hispanic neighborhoods.  
6. Develop and present an advocacy proposal/project to improve food/beverage environment and built environment policies in Hispanic neighborhoods.



The due dates for the assignments are on the Schedule.

Grading rubrics and a guide on how to evaluate research articles will be provided in a separate document.

1. Literature Review

You will conduct a literature review of 3 recent and peer-reviewed and evidence-based research articles that have to do with any one of the topics below.  Students must review the articles with Dr. Gonzalez for approval during office hours by Thursday of Week 5.  After obtaining approval, please complete the following:

Prepare a short paper (4 - 5 pages, double space) by reviewing the articles with APA style.  The paper should summarize each study and provide the student’s own recommendations on what future researchers should do differently to study food issues in Mexican-immigrant and Mexican-American neighborhoods.  The paper should include an introduction, a summary of the three studies (one paragraph each), your recommendations for each study (one paragraph each), and a short concluding paragraph.  The peer-reviewed articles should cover any one of the following, but are not limited to: 

  • Food insecurity
  • Diet quality
  • Body weight
  • Quality, accessibility, or affordability of food
  • Food deserts
  • Community gardens
  • Food inequities
  • Quality, accessibility, or safety of parks or open spaces
  • Built environment and obesity
  • Social justice and food
  • Food equity or inequity and food
  • Public policy, advocacy, and food

2.  Group Proposal of a Project and Presentation

Towards the end of the semester, groups of 4 or 5 will develop a proposal of a childhood obesity advocacy/policy change project. Thus, you will not “do” the project, but simply propose it.  The idea is for students to collectively fuse their class and internship knowledge into a proposal.

You will receive a guide on “how to” develop the proposal.  At minimum, you must include the following.

A. Frame the obesity issue and geographic area:

a. Determinants of Obesity: You will report on one or two specific determinants of obesity along the lines of the course Learning Goals #1. You will look up national data or large-scale studies.
b. Race, ethnicity, and immigration status: You will report on how the determinants you describe in “a” impact Latino immigrant populations in the U.S.
c. “Local area”: You will report on how the determinants you describe in “b” impact Latino immigrant populations in a local area.  By “area” we mean by zip code and/or particular census tracts, as deemed appropriate.

B. Describe the name of your project and the goals (limit to two).

C. Describe 3 intervention strategies and what each intends to change (at least 2 must be public policy and one could be a program).

D. Incorporate multi-media in your proposal and presentation. This could include but is not limited to one of the following: pod-casts, video, interactive maps.

E. Submit your proposal electronically as a pdf.

F. Present a 20-minute (about 10 slides/frames) presentation of your proposal to share with the class. Submit your presentation after you receive feedback.  

3.  Quizzes

There will be two multiple-choice quizzes, each covering material from the preceding lectures and readings.  Unless prior arrangements are made, no make-up quizzes will be allowed. 


Assignment Points
Class participation and attendance 100
Literature Review 250
Group Proposal and Presentation 450 (350 proposal; 100 presentation)
Quiz 1 and 2 200 (100 points each)
Total 1000

Grading Criteria

1000 – 900   A
899 – 800  B
799 – 700  C
699 – 600   D
  < 600  F

This course will not use +/- system.


For every lecture attended, you will receive 2 points towards your grade, which is a part of the class participation grade.

Late Work Policy

Unless prior arrangements are made, there are no make-up assignments or exams.


Extra Credit Options

(If any) will be available to all students on an equitable basis.


Academic Dishonesty Policy

All work for this class is to be your own work. You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the Academic Dishonesty section of the University Catalog (page 484). . If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism or cheating, please ask the instructor.  Further, Academic dishonesty includes such things as cheating, inventing false information or citations, plagiarism, and helping someone else commit an act of academic dishonesty. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty will be assigned an appropriate academic penalty ranging from a reprimand to a grade of F and will be reported to the Judicial Officer on campus.  PLAGIARISM is a specific form of academic dishonesty (cheating) which consists of handing in someone else’s work, copying or purchasing a composition, using ideas, paragraphs, sentences, or phrases written by another, or using data and/or statistics compiled by another without giving citation.   Any acts of academic dishonesty will be dealt with in accordance to CSUF policies and will receive a 0 on assignments.

Disabled Student Services

The mission of our Disabled Students Services Office is “to make all of the university’s educational, cultural, social, and physical facilities and programs accessible to students with orthopedic, functional, perceptual and/or learning disabilities.”  Please inform me during the first week of classes about any disability or special needs that you have that may require specific arrangements related to attending class sessions, carrying out class assignments, or writing papers or exams; I will be most happy to make appropriate accommodations.  According to the California State University Policy, students with disabilities need to document their disabilities at the Disabled Student Services Office.  The office is located in UH 101; the phone number is (657) 278-3117.  See

Class Etiquette/Communications

The classroom is a wonderful place to learn, exchange ideas and experience both academic and personal growth.  Therefore, to protect and respect this collegial environment, it is very important to actively listen and not be disruptive when your peers or the professor is speaking.  Please refrain from using cell phones and pagers during class.  Also, coming to class well-rested, eating prior to class (not in class), and being involved with discussions in class will contribute significantly to your efforts in furthering your knowledge of the material covered in this class.  All these measures will preserve the integrity of the educational experience.


Other Instructional Materials and Activities

Guest Speakers



Emergency Preparedness

Please familiarize yourself with campus emergency procedures:

Consult our TITANium course site for updates and announcements if we are unable to attend class due to an emergency situation and/or campus closure (e.g., earthquake).


17-Week Schedule

    Dr. McEligot  
1 Introduction to Childhood Obesity and consequences with focus on Hispanic communities Lecture and Class Discussion Glickman et al., Chapter 1 & 2
2 Nutrition Policy and Obesity Lecture and Class Discussion Glickman et al. Chapters 3 & 4
3 Opportunities for Intervention through Food Assistance Programs Lecture and Class Discussion Assigned readings
    Dr. Gonzalez  
4 Prevention Public Policy, Health Policy and Health Disparities Lecture and Class Discussion Glickman et al., Chapters 5, 6 & 7
5 Where We Live Matters and Inequities Class held on-line Bell and Lee, pages 11-33; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
6 The Built Environment and Obesity Lecture and Class Discussion; Quiz 1 Jackson, Chapter 1, 2, & 3; Nyberg, Ramirez, and Gallion, pages 1-10
7 Public Policy and Obesity Lecture and Class Discussion Dye, pages 1-10; Dodson et al., pages 161-171
8 Communities and Change Lecture; Literature Review Due Keidan and Amsler, pages 52-61; Gonzalez, Villanueva, and Grills, pages 88-98
9 Communities and Change Lecture and Class Discussion Garcia, Bracho, Cantero and Glenn, pages 330-333; Kumanyika and Grier, pages 187-20
10 Ideas for Group Proposal Lecture and Class Discussion Jackson, Chapters 11, 12, 13, and Epilogue
11 Spring Recess: Campus Closed    
Health Access  
12 Latino Health Access – History and Overview Lecture and Class Discussion; Quiz 2 LHA History
13 Promotora (Community Health Worker) Model & Advocacy Lecture and Class Discussion Promotora Model Manual, LHA
14 Political, Cultural, Economic, and Urban Barriers Related to Public Policy Lecture and Class Discussion Promotora Model Manual, LHA
UC Davis
Lucia Kaiser  
15 Applied Community Engagement and Public Policy Lecture and Class Discussion; Group Proposal Due Assigned Readings
    Dr. Gonzalez  
16 Wrap-Up Group Presentations  
17 Finals Week Group Presentations  


csuf logolha logos

nifa logo



Download Adobe Reader | Download Word Viewer | Download Excel Viewer | Download PowerPoint Viewer

©2012 CSUF College of Health and Human Development | Contact webmaster at