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obesity epidemic

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Obesity is a major problem in Merced County, especially for children. So why is the local school district’s menu full of unhealthy items such as hot dogs and breakfast pizza?
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The rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years. While there are no easy solutions, programs that focus on the whole family have shown positive results in changing both behaviors and health measures.

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There's been growing awareness in recent years that our social and physical environment influences obesity rates. Now researchers say they have further evidence to support the idea that secondhand smoke and roadway pollution add to BMI increases and obesity.

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Until the 1980s, few West Virginians are overweight in archival photos. In the 1960s and 1970s, during the poverty war, Americans got used to seeing pictures of bone-thin West Virginians on the evening news. Only 13.4 percent of Americans were obese then.

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While obesity is a problem for Americans in all walks of life, it’s worse when you don’t live near a park, when access to public transportation is limited, when sidewalks are broken and streetlights are few. In fact, a National Institutes of Health study found that just living in a socioeconomically deprived area leads to weight gain and a greater risk of dying at an early age. In stark terms, people in Culver City live an average of eight years longer than people in Jefferson Park, according to Crump. Yet these two communities in the middle of Los Angeles are only a couple of miles apart.

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First, it was the opening of a Kroger in East Oakland. Now it's the announcement that Tesco's Fresh and Easy is heading to the Bayview. What exactly, you may be asking yourself, makes these stories major headline news?

And why is a doctor spending time writing about grocery stores too?

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The number of parks, fresh food stores, bicycle and jogging paths are influencing the spread of obesity and diabetes, particularly in minority communities, according to popular and scientific literature. I am reviewing the academic work been developed in several important cities that are trying to map out obesity and to correlated its prevalence with environmental factors. Recommendations and innovative solutions to the obesity epidemic in low income communities will be of particular interest.

Related work (comming soon!)

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Dr. Richard J. Jackson is a professor and the chairman of environmental health sciences at UCLA's School of Public Health. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of environmental health services at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He also served as state public health officer for the California Department of Health Services. His responsibilities included direct leadership and oversight of the department's public health-related activities.

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The pandemic is far from over but crucial COVID-19 protections and benefits are gone. In our next webinar, we'll explore the end of renter protections, unemployment benefits and other emergency relief, and what it means for the nation’s pandemic recovery and the health and well-being of low-income people and their communities. Glean story ideas and crucial context. Sign-up here!

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