By Iqbal Pittalwala
October 11, 2016
More than two in three adults are considered overweight or obese in the United States. Alarmingly, this trend begins in childhood: about one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered overweight or obese.
Childhood obesity, however, is disproportionately prevalent in communities of color – due largely to poverty, food insecurity, and lack of safe recreational options, depriving such communities of opportunities to sustain healthy eating and active living.
Andrew Subica, Ph.D., in the School of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside, and colleagues have just published a paper in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that reports on the results of an innovative program to address the nation’s childhood obesity problem by targeting its root cause, children’s unhealthy neighborhood conditions, in 21 low-income communities of color. Five of these communities are in California.
“People living in low-income communities of color are among this nation’s unhealthiest, largely because they live in neighborhoods that can’t meet their basic health needs such as clean water, safe areas to exercise, and affordable healthy food,” said lead author Subica, an assistant professor of social medicine and population health. “For children of color, these neighborhood problems are even more dire because they cause extreme rates of childhood obesity, putting them on a lifelong course of poor health and premature death.”