Posts tagged obesity
U.S. Obesity leveled off since last year, the first time since 1998 that obesity rates have not worsened, according to the new United Health Foundation’s 2013 America’s Health Rankings, an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by state basis.
Here are the key nationwide health trends from last year to this year:
- Smoking rates dropped from 21.2% of the adult population to 19.6%.
- Physical inactivity dropped from 26.2% of the adult population to 22.9%.
- Obesity remained about the same, about 27% of the adult population.
At the state level, Hawaii has taken the title of healthiest state. The state scored well along most measures particularly for having low rates of uninsured individuals, high rates of childhood immunization, and low rates of obesity, smoking and preventable hospitalizations.
Vermont, last year’s reported No. 1 state, is ranked second this year and has ranked among the top five states for the last decade. Minnesota is third, followed by Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Mississippi ranks 50th this year, and Arkansas (49), Louisiana (48), Alabama (47) and West Virginia (46) complete the list of the five least healthy states.
“I am encouraged by the progress we’ve made this year and am hopeful that the leveling off we see in America’s obesity is a sign of further improvement to come,” said Dr. Reed Tuckson, external senior medical adviser to United Health Foundation, in a statement. “We should certainly celebrate these gains. They encourage us to continue to identify and effectively implement best practices in these areas and in addressing diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions that compromise Americans’ health and vitality.”
Go here to learn more about the rankings and its tools identify health opportunities in communities as well as multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary approaches to address those opportunities.
Read about the rankings in Spanish here.
Hispanic mothers and fathers who were stressed saw the greatest impact on their children’s body mass index (BMI) compared to any other ethnicity in the new study, Voxxi reports.
The study, led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, found that kids with high-stress parents have a 2% higher BMI than kids with low-stress parents. Researchers speculated that stressed parents were less likely concerned with healthy food options and exercise.
According to the article:
Hispanic children, who made up more than half of the test subjects, were the most predominantly affected by the stress of their parents, a finding study authors feel may indicate Hispanic children are more likely to experience hypherphasia — excessive hunger or increased appetite — and a sedentary lifestyle…
…While much of this health disparity has been attributed to lack of access and knowledge regarding healthy foods, stressed parents may be another factor previously overlooked. Hispanics and other immigrant parents have challenges unique to them including language barriers and the stress of acculturation.
“Childhood is a time when we develop interconnected habits related to how we deal with stress, how we eat and how active we are,” Dr. Ketan Shankardass said in a statement on the St. Michael’s website. “It’s a time when we might be doing irreversible damage or damage that is very hard to change later.”
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.”