African Americans are one of thelargest ethnic groups in the United States with part or total ancestry from anyof the black racial groups of Africa. African-Americans make up about 13% ofthe U.
S population. They are the second largest minority population, followingthe Hispanic/Latino population. Despite all efforts to improve the generalHealth and reducing disparities in the United States, minorities, especiallyAfrican Americans still experiencing health disparities and suffering fromchronic health issues, live in poverty, have difficulty obtaining health care.Inequities in income, lack access to quality healthcare, access to qualityeducation and many other factors that influence a person’s chance to livelonger and healthier life. African American today still lack the power overdecisions and actions that could eliminate health disparities. These healthdisparities that still African American experience, contribute to higher ratesof obesity and related illnesses in African American communities. Obesity ismore prevalent in the African-American community and has been a growing concernin recent decades. There are many factors and barriers that contribute to obesityamong African Americans.
We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!
Why is Obesity an issue in the United States? And whyis Obesity a disparity among African Americans? Obesity is one of the most commonmedical problems in the world. Even though Americans today are aware and havemore knowledge of the impact of obesity on health than ever before, but obesityis more prevalent today than ever before. African Americans are the most obeseof all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. the prevalence of obesityamong African American continues to increase. In 2015, The death rate forAfrican Americans was generally higher than whites for heart diseases, stroke,cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide,according to the US department of health and human services. Everyone needs some fats in hisbody in order to live, but an excessive body fat is considered as obesity.Obesity in America today is more prevalent than it was in 2000. According tothe centers for disease control and prevention, more than one-third (36.
5%) ofU.S. adults have obesity, it is not just a weight problem and how you look butpeople who are obese are at an increased risk for many serious health issuesincluding Heart disease and stroke “cardiovascular disease (CVD) ranks as thenumber one killer of African Americans, claiming the lives of 36% of the morethan 290,000 African Americans who die each year. It was also reported that therate of high blood pressure in African Americans in the U.S. is among thehighest in the world”. (American Heart Association 2005).
High blood pressure,Diabetes that is a major cause of early death, Cancer, Reproductive problemsobesity may cause infertility issues in women. Gallbladder disease andgallstones, Osteoarthritis, and some breathing problems, such as sleep apneaand asthma. Obesity, in general, is identifyingas weighing above the normal and ideal weight for a healthy individual.
“Weightthat is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height”according to center for disease and control and prevention. In order to knowthat your weight is healthy or not doctors classify people as eitherunderweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. there is a measure calledBody Mass Index or BMI and it is an estimate of body fat and is the most widelyused diagnostic tool within the health industry, it is the calculation of bodyweight in relation to height. (BMI ?30 kg/m2) is obese and (BMI ? 25 kg/m2) isoverweight. There is a difference between obesity and overweight and thedifference is that Obesity means having too much body fat, while overweightmeans weighing too much. I have never heard of BMI before it’s something new tome, and when I use it I found out that I’m overweight! I used to think that I’min good shape, so I need to make healthy changes in my eating habit.
More than one-third of U.S. adultsare obese, and Obesity is a great threat to one’s health.There is no denying thateveryone wants to have a well-built body, and not to be obese, obesity is notjust how we look, but it’s also a risk factor for many health issues.
Accordingto the World Health Organization, rates of obesity are higher for AfricanAmerican than White, and sure there are many reasons for that. there is nosingle cause of obesity but there are some factors including socioeconomicstatus, culture, and genetics that may be contributing to the problem ofobesity among African American. “The association of low socioeconomic statuswith increased use of alcohol and cigarette smoking increased unemployment, anda higher caloric intake has been observed in the economically heterogeneousadult Black population”. (American Journal of Public Health 1992). So, there isa relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and health.
“Inequitable access tohealthy foods as determined by socioeconomic factors could influence the dietand health of a population”. (Ruth S.M Chan and Jean Woo.2010).
Increased obesity was linked to low income,low-income families usually live in a disadvantaged neighborhood which has pooraccess to full-service grocery stores and farmers’ markets that offer freshfood and restaurants that serve healthy food, in those areas you can find thatthe number of fast food restaurants is significantly high especially nearschools compared to fast food restaurants in high-income neighborhoods.Consumption of processed and convenience foods regularly may contribute toobesity, because fast foods contain fat, saturated fat, high calories, and toomuch sugar that are not good for one’s health. Sometimes healthy food may bemore expensive if available and this is a big problem for low-income families.Also, education contributes in obesity, people with lower education who makeless money are more likely to have several chronic diseases, including obesity,and environment play an important role in obesity too, as Dr. Tony Iton said:”your zip code is more important than your genetic code”.
The area or the neighborhoodwhere a person lives affects his health positively or negatively. Poorneighborhoods are neglected by politicians: Insufficient services, poortransportation, less athletic facilities, parks. People who live in poorneighborhoods are less healthy compared to those who live in goodneighborhoods. Violent and crimes that occur in poor areas preventing peoplefrom being active outside.
Children attend under-funded schools, that serveunhealthy foods, those are things that they have no control of.Culture may alsocontribute to obesity. Being beautiful differs from one culture to another,Many African-American views that being obese as part of their culture, I’m fromNorth Africa and in the south of my country despite the development of societypeople still view that obesity is a symbol of beauty and wealth especially forwomen, in their culture being fat is beautiful. And really, I know families inthe south of my country who prepare their daughters to get married by forcingthem to eat more in order to attract rich families and a good husband. Butwomen have started to change their view of beauty and this culture began todisappear, but it still exists. But I think that culture contributes only in asmall part of the cause.
Science shows that geneticsinfluence whether you become obese or not. “New research indicates that peoplewith certain genetic variations may tend to graze for food more often, eat moremeals, and consume more calories every day, as well as display patterns ofseeking out high-fat food groups”. (Health the Basics, 11th ed). Genes play animportant role in obesity. Parents who are obese are more likely to haveoverweight children. Obesity has become a serious andsignificant health problem in modern life in the United States not only becauseof the serious health consequences associated with obesity but also because ofthe economic costs that affect most people. The treatment and healthconsequences of obesity-related illness cost billions of dollars a year andimpose an economic burden on the healthcare systems. “The estimated annualmedical cost of obesity in the U.
S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; themedical costs for people who have obesity were $1,429 higher than those ofnormal weight”.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention.The community and publichealth intervention programs that tackle the problem of obesity have been metwith little success and the prevalence of obesity is still rising. I believethat in order to combat obesity we have to target the Barriers that contributeto obesity at personal, environmental and socioeconomic levels. Understandingthe causes and contributing factors of this disparity will help in creating thegood strategy in weight-loss intervention since there is no single cause of alloverweight and obesity, there is no single way to prevent or treat overweightand obesity that will help everyone (CDC, 2009). there is no one quick solutionor easy fix to the issue of obesity but government community and individualsshould work together and make the change sooner rather than later.
Thegovernment should focus on the Socioeconomic factors: increase the minimum wageto enable working families to buy the healthy foods, it should also restrictthe production of junk and cheap foods, restricting junk food advertising, andSubsidize healthy foods in programs for low-income families. Individuals shouldchange their eating lifestyle by eating healthy foods and increasing physicalactivity by these changes life expectancy can be increased, and individuals canlive a healthy life.