Research Opportunities With Curanderos to Address Childhood Overweight in Latino Families Academic Article uri icon


  • Curanderos are consulted as an adjunct or alternative to biomedical health care in the greater southwest, although the extent of their involvement in obesity prevention and treatment is poorly understood. Seven curanderos participated in audiotaped interviews about their work with families and beliefs about childhood feeding and overweight. Themes reflected curanderos' beliefs about their practice and childhood obesity. Curanderos approach their work as a calling, emphasizing elements from nature in etiology and cure. From the curandero's standpoint, essential elements of obesity management must acknowledge the socially marginalized experiences of Latinos. We encountered working with curanderos as problematic, and this likely reflected our differing personal characteristics and a tension between our healing professions. Curanderos could serve as collaborators in childhood obesity interventions if we craft health messages and delivery modes that resonate with Latino families and address ethical and communication issues on the research team.

publication date

  • January 2010