Assessing and Preventing Obesity among New Immigrants

The Tisch College Community Research Center provided seed funding for this study of obesity among immigrant populations in Somerville, Massachusetts, which went on to receive more than $2 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Research led by Christina Economos of Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy found that mothers reported having a low demanding/high responsive feeding style, which is associated with higher child weight status. The study went on to test whether an appropriately timed intervention, developed with input from the immigrant community in Somerville, would be effective in preventing weight gain in both the mother and child. The intervention focused on lifestyle coaching and targeted immigrants from Brazil, Haiti, and Latin America that have arrived in the United States within the last five years.

As a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project, the study was conducted in conjunction with local leaders and organizations.

Full Report


  • Christina Economos
  • Heloisa Galvao, Brazilian Woman's Group
  • Monica Chianelli, Brazilian Women's Group
  • Ismael Vásquez, Community Action Agency of Somerville
  • Franklin Dalembert, Haitian Coalition
  • Alex Pirie, Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health