By FinancesOnline.com, Special for USDR.
According to the latest “Obesity and the Black American: Causes, Culture, Consequences, and Cost” article published recently at FinancesOnline.com the wailing and flailing of health experts on obesity is fully justified. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2012 report points out that 33.0% of U.S. adults aged 20 and over are overweight, 35.7% are obese, and 6.3% are extremely obese. This and other alarming facts are highlighted in this investigative article. In particular, the article focuses on a sector that seems to be most at risk for obesity — African Americans.
The article takes an in-depth look at what it calls the 4Cs of Black American obesity — causes, culture, consequences, and cost. Some of the article’s most interesting viewpoints:
- There is some evidence that genes can be responsible for the drive to overeat, the tendency to be sedentary, a diminished ability to use dietary fats as fuel, and an enlarged, easily stimulated capacity to store body fat.
- But not all people with access to abundant food supply become fat. Also, not all obese people have the same body fat distribution. The variance happens among groups of the same racial or ethnic background and even within families living in the same environment.
- Diet and a sedentary lifestyle, two perfectly preventable causes, are pinpointed as the culprits for obesity.
- Black Americans living in virtual food deserts characterized by the absence of healthy food sources are most at risk for obesity.
That’s just for starters. After discussing the possible causes at length, the article then goes on to discuss the cultural factors behind African American obesity. First is the general acceptance of weight and absence of pressure to be thin in Black communities. Then there’s also the central and celebratory role food plays in the typical African American family.
The article then cites some disturbing facts and figures:
- Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.
- The direct medical costs of obesity was estimated to be at $190 billion annually.
- Lost productivity from obesity-related absenteeism costs employers as much as $6.4 billion a year
The article does offer some measure of hope. Citing a 2012 report by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), it states that if at-risk citizens reduced their body mass index by 5%, states stand to save as much as 7.9% of medical costs related to obesity, or roughly $81 billion for the state of California in 2030.
The full “Obesity and the Black American: Causes, Culture, Consequences, and Cost” article is available atFinancesOnline.com.