Posts tagged obesity
Check out this excellent story by Eli Saslow of the Washington Post about how the food stamp diet is making people obese—but also leaving them hungry—in the largely Latino region of South Texas.
Here’s a little insight into the situation in Hidalgo County, Texas:
“El Futuro” is what some residents had begun calling the area, and here the future was unfolding in a cycle of cascading extremes:
Hidalgo County has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation . . . which has led almost 40 percent of residents to enroll in the food-stamp program . . . which means a widespread reliance on cheap, processed foods . . . which results in rates of diabetes and obesity that double the national average . . . which fuels the country’s highest per-capita spending on health care.
This is what El Futuro looks like in the Rio Grande Valley: The country’s hungriest region is also its most overweight, with 38.5 percent of the people obese. For one of the first times anywhere in the United States, children in South Texas have a projected life span that is a few years shorter than that of their parents.
It is a crisis at the heart of the Washington debate over food stamps, which now help support nearly 1 in 7 Americans. Has the massive growth of a government feeding program solved a problem, or created one? Is it enough for the government to help people buy food, or should it go further by also telling them what to eat?
Read more of this fantastic story and photos here.
Childhood obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes.
A new website, notmykids.net, offers healthier recipes, tips on how to eat healthier, and ideas about how to help families be more physically active, to promote healthy lifestyle changes and prevent obesity.
The site is produced by the California Department of Public Health’s Network for a Healthy California.
Watch their video here or below.
Diabetes and obesity are the two most significant health threats in South Texas, according to a new report published online in Springer Open Books by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The South Texas Health Status Review, originally self-published in 2008, was updated this year to study more than 35 health conditions and risk factors and how people in South Texas may be differently affected than those in the rest of Texas or nation.
The Review, in addition to singling out diabetes and obesity, also indicates that the South Texas region faces higher rates than the rest of Texas or nation for:
- Cervical, liver, stomach and gallbladder cancers
- Child and adolescent leukemia
- Neural tube defects
- Other birth defects
- Childhood lead poisoning
“The Review is a roadmap of the health inequalities that burden the health of South Texas residents, especially Hispanics, compared the rest of Texas and nation,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., lead editor of the Review and director of the IHPR at the Health Science Center. “We hope this knowledge motivates researchers and public health leaders to create and shape interventions to reverse those inequalities.”
South Texas, a 38-county region spanning 45,000 square miles along the Texas-Mexico border and northward up to Bexar County, is home to 18 percent of the state’s population.
Yet South Texas residents, who are predominantly Hispanics, struggle with lower educational levels, less income and less access to health care.
To chart the health status of the region, Dr. Ramirez teamed up with the Texas Department of State Health Services with support from the Health Science Center’s Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC), represented by regional dean Leonel Vela, M.D., and the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC), represented by director Ian M. Thompson, M.D.
The team analyzed county, state and national data to compare South Texas’ incidence, prevalence and mortality rates for more than 35 health indicators—from communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS to cancers to maternal health and even environmental health—to the rest of Texas and the nation by age, sex, race/ethnicity and rural/urban location.
The Review found that South Texas had higher rates, compared to the rest of Texas, for 12 of the health indicators analyzed. Incidence rates for many of the health indicators were even higher for South Texas Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites.
For example, the percentage of obese adults in South Texas (32.7%) was higher than that of the rest of Texas (29.1%) and nation (27%).
Hispanics in South Texas also were more obese (37.9%) than their white counterparts.
“Obesity, a risk factor for diabetes and certain cancers, can be directly linked to lifestyle behaviors, such as inadequate physical activity and poor eating habits,” Dr. Ramirez said. “Prevention research efforts directed at obesity and diabetes could significantly reduce the burden of disease in South Texas communities.”
When a city works together to make healthy changes, incredible things can happen quickly!
In just 2 years, obesity rates in San Antonio and Bexar County dropped from 35.1% in 2010 to 28.5% in 2012 on the heels of new health and fitness initiatives across the city, said San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and local health officials at a press conference July 31, 2013.
The city now has a lower rate of obesity than the current Texas average (29.3%).
“We now have evidence that our investments are paying off and positively impacting the health of our families and the overall quality of life in San Antonio,” Castro said.
Overall, 70,000 of adults in Bexar County moved into a healthier weight category from 2010 to 2012.
Obesity rates also decline among local racial/ethnic minority populations, including Latinos, which saw a drop in obesity from 40.5% to 29.6%—but the decline was even greater among those with higher incomes and more education, said Dr. Thomas Schlenker, director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health).
“We have a special work to do with those who are less educated and those of lower income,” Schlenker said. “That’s where we need to invest the most going forward.”
The new statistics comes from survey data collected before and after the city received a federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant.
In 2010, Metro Health received a $15.6 million CPPW obesity prevention grant that allowed it to partner with multiple organizations such as the Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works, the Office of Sustainability and the Mayor’s Fitness Council, the Bexar County Health Collaborative, San Antonio Housing Authority, YMCA of Greater San Antonio, San Antonio Sports, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Texas School of Public Health, and local school districts, to develop and implement many strategies and programs for reducing obesity.
Mayor Castro thanked partners like San Antonio Sports, which organizes the Fit Family Challenge, a four-month summer event that offers families opportunities to stay active, and the local restaurant association who support the city’s healthy menu initiative, Por Vida.
He also recognized the YMCA, which organizes the city’s open streets initiative Síclovía.
Still, there is more work to be done: the latest statistics also show that the percentage of local people who were overweight, but not obese, rose from 34% in 2010 to 36% in 2012.
Schlenker pointed out two fitness-focused activities that can help all age groups:
- Neighborhood bike-riding
- RoTenGo (the street version of paddle tennis)
Castro even ended the press conference by playing RoTenGo, which Schlenker says is really catching on with family-oriented fitness groups across San Antonio.
“We’re going to take San Antonio from one of the fattest cities to one of the fittest cities,” Castro said.
Other speakers at the press conference included: Sandy Morander, CEO for the YMCA, Tony Canty of the Mayor’s Fitness Council, and Cesar Canizalez a high-school senior who was recently awarded the Mayor’s Fitness Council Healthy Hero Award.
Go here for more information.
See below for KSAT-TV news coverage of the press conference.
A recent study by the Children’s Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas has discovered an interesting correlation between obesity and peanut consumption. According to their study, Mexican-American children who consume peanuts at least once a week are less likely to be overweight or obese.
Currently, 39% of the Mexican-American children are classified as overweight or obese, compared to the 32% of all children in the United States- a fact that prompts studies like this, that explore what factors and foods affect childhood obesity.
Studies have long shown the health benefits of nut consumption for adults, aiding in lower lipid levels, lower body mass indices, and reduced risk of coronary artery disease. This study looks specifically at how these benefits relate to children.
It was found that the Mexican-American children in the study who ate peanuts had significantly higher intakes of several vitamins and micronutrients, such as magnesium and Vitamin E, along with having lower low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels. These results show that the consumption of peanuts and/or peanut butter may be associated with lower weight status, improved diet, and lipid levels among Mexican-American Children.
Finding these key foods or health factors that may assist in reducing childhood obesity is vital, because they may also play a role in reducing obesity related diseases. Hispanically Speaking News discussed the research pointing out that, “These vitamins are often deficient amongst Mexican-Americans. Consumption of those vitamins, amongst others, helps reduce the risk for diabetes and heart disease.” More research will be needed to see how the consumption of peanuts plays a role in the overall health of children and adolescents.
When Albert Hernandez made a bet with a co-worker to lose his extra weight, his wife, Adriana Hernandez, joined him, and they experience success supporting each other’s weight-loss goals, according to a new video about the Latino couple from Kaiser Permanente.
The couple began measuring their food and keeping track of what they ate. When they started to see results, they began an exercise regimen as well.
“The secret to my success is my wife,” Albert said, according to Kaiser Permanente.
After losing more than 50 pounds, Albert and his wife feel great.
“I think just about anybody with a little support and commitment could lose the weight,” Albert said.
Sugary drinks are a top source of calories in the American diet.
This is troubling because the nation is struggling with an obesity epidemic.
Given that Latinos especially suffer from higher rates of obesity than several other population groups, “The Real Bears,” a recent animated short film that has generated more than 2 million views on YouTube, has now been converted into Spanish.
“The Real Bears,” which tells the story of a family suffering the adverse health effects of soda, including obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes and its associated complications, including amputation and erectile dysfunction, is produced by nonprofit group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). It features an original song by Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter Jason Mraz and directed by advertising legend Alex Bogusky.
Check out Balsera Communications’ infographic on how culture may help prevent Latino health problems.
Latinos face a high risk of certain health problems—heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and certain cancers—but the infographic argues that, “by infusing some of the most cherished traits of our culture into solutions for our health disparities, we can help overcome them in a fun and effortless way.”
Sandra San Miguel de Majors, a research instructor at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the Health Science Center at San Antonio, touted the use of community health workers—called promotores—to improve people’s health at the Latina Health Policy Briefing for Promotores de Salud on Sept. 26, 2012, at the White House in Washington, D.C.
The policy briefing, organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the affordable care act, united key Latino health care providers, researchers, stakeholders and promotores to discuss successful evidenced-based Latino research initiatives utilizing promotores.
The briefing featured Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary.
San Miguel participated in a panel featuring promotora research and outreach successes. Representing IHPR director Dr. Amelie Ramirez and IHPR researcher Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, San Miguel gave an overview on IHPR’s obesity research projects:
- Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national network of researchers, community leaders, policymakers, and others who are working together to seek environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity.
- Enlace is testing the effectiveness of a culturally appropriate, theory-based intervention to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity among impoverished Latinas in South Texas.
- The SaludToday social media campaign is stimulating an ongoing discussion among Latino families, community leaders, health researchers and others interested in improving the health of U.S. Latinos.
“We are discovering through our research efforts that promotores play a major role in effectively changing our Latino community perspective toward health and physical activity,” San Miguel said. “In addition to helping to navigate the community and connecting them with the appropriate social support resources, promotores are acting as behavioral change agents.”
Also represented on the promotora panel were the Health Disparities Department at the American Cancer Society, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Julie Chavez Rodrigues, associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and granddaughter of the late Latino rights activist César Chavez, made closing remarks.
“It was an honor for me to represent the IHPR and our team of IHPR promotores, whose passion and dedication enables us to implement successful evidenced based and community based participatory research programs within our Latino communities at a local and national level,” San Miguel said. “It was a wonderful experience; I was humbled to be in such distinguished company.”
Latinos, African Americans and women are disproportionately affected by both obesity and osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, which is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage that acts as a cushion at the ends of bones.
On Sept. 18-19, 2012, Movement is Life will convene for its third annual National Caucus on Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Health Disparities.
At this year’s meeting, the cause and effect relationship between osteoarthritis and obesity will be at the forefront of discussions.
“For patients with osteoarthritis, the friction produced when bones grind against one another causes chronic pain and stiffness. As a result, many limit their physical activity, which often leads to weight gain,” said Dr. Mary O’Connor of the Mayo Clinic Florida and the co-chair of Movement is Life, which aims to decrease disparities in musculoskeletal care delivery by raising awareness of ways to proactively manage chronic diseases. “Chronic pain, inactivity and weight gain can escalate into obesity, which in turn worsens the burden of osteoarthritis. However, obesity can also initiate the cycle. Being overweight increases the risk and progression of osteoarthritis because the extra load directly impacts weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips.”
Facts about arthritis
- An estimated 3.1 million Hispanics are living with arthritis, and 39.1 percent of Hispanic adults are considered obese.
- Of the nearly 27 million Americans who have osteoarthritis, nearly 16 million are women.
- More than 60 percent of U.S. adult women are overweight.
- An estimated 4.6 million African Americans are living with arthritis. Four out of five African American women are overweight or obese, which is the highest rate of any group in the U.S.
“OA and obesity act as catalysts for other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease,” said Alberto Bolanos, MD and Co-Founder of the American Association of Latino Orthopaedic Surgeons. “The treatment of patients who suffer from multiple chronic conditions is challenging to our health care system. Osteoarthritis and obesity lead to worse health conditions, resulting in higher medical costs and, sadly, a poorer quality of life.”
The two-day 2012 National Caucus on Arthritis & Musculoskeletal Health Disparities will bring together a consortium of stakeholders representing primary care physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, health advocacy organizations, community organizations, academia, faith-based leaders, industry leaders and more.
Learn more at www.movementislifecaucus.com.