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Mexico - Center for Health Promotion of Northern Mexico

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Center of Excellence

Center for Health Promotion of Northern Mexico
El Colegio de Sonora
Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Principal Investigators: Catalina Denman, PhD
Co-investigator: Elsa Cornejo

Center of Excellence Activity Sites

  • Northern Mexico
  • U.S. Mexico Border

Developed Country Partner

University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson, Arizona, USA Principal Investigators: Cecilia Rosales, M.D., M.S.; Jill Guernsey de Zapien


Epidemiological data indicate that prevention and attention to chronic diseases should be a priority along the U.S. Mexico border. In Mexico, the rates of non-communicable diseases (many of them obesogenic diseases) increased to 74 percent in 2009. In Sonora, 70 percent of adults and a third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes mellitus are responsible for a quarter of mortality in the country. This prevalence is considered high compared with the U.S. (8.1), but is similar to that found among the U.S. Hispanic populations (15.4).

Epidemiological studies have shown that physical activity can help prevent the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, CVD, and cancer. However, large-scale programs designed to manage obesity in a clinical population level may not be effective unless they take into account that the environment can be obesogenic, and unless they include interventions that promote physical activity and good nutrition.


  • Contribute to the construction of healthy conditions of the population in Northern Mexico at the individual, family and social-ecological level from the perspective of the social sciences, public health, and socio-cultural epidemiology.
  • Building healthy communities in Arizona and other US border regions, and in US metropolitan areas with large Latino populations. The Center will include an agenda for integrating research, training and development of human resources, and management and dissemination of information, including:
    • Action research and evaluation research supporting the development of programs and models of primary prevention of chronic diseases and health promotion.
    • Development of program curriculum and health promotion models.
    • Training of researchers, program leaders and community health workers on health promotion models for chronic disease prevention.
    • Dissemination of research and program results through articles and scientific journals, popular press, video, and world-wide web.

Research Activities

  • Adapt and validate a community-based prevention intervention program that utilizes community health workers, with an emphasis on physical activity and nutrition.
  • Examine the role of promotores in NCD prevention within the Mexican health care system. Construct an empowerment model which includes individual, family and community changes in prevention programs.


Develop training programs in the field of the health promotion for graduate and postgraduate researchers, and health educators; and for community health workers, public health program supervisors and program evaluators working within governmental and non-governmental institutions in Northern Mexico and the US border region.

Other Partners Academic Institutions

Universidad de Sonora, Sonora, Mexico
Principal Investigators: Gerardo Alvarez, Maren Von Der Boch, Alejandro Castaneda

Centro de Investigacion en Alimentacion y Desarrollo (CIAD), Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
Principal Investigators: Isabel Ortega, Martha Nydia Ballesteros, Socorro Saucedo

Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz, Mexico
Principal Investigator: Benno de Keyjzer

El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Principal Investigator: Gudelia Rangel

Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Principal Investigators: Francisco Lara and Hilda Garcia

Regional Institutions and NGO's

Secretaria de Salud Publica de Sonora
Red Fronteriza de Salud y Ambiente
COBANARAS Federacion Estatal de Sociedades de Solidaridad Social (CFESSS)


The Center of Excellence receives funding from the UnitedHealth Group Initiative for Chronic Disease.

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Last Updated: October 2, 2012

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