Communities Fight Obesity by Addressing Racism, Poverty

Articles | March 5 2020

By Ellen Beck

Communities have identified structural racism as a foundational cause of poverty and obesity and are partnering with advocacy groups, nonprofits and residents to build wealth in low-income neighborhoods and increase access to healthful food and opportunities for physical activity that can promote better health outcomes.

More than half of adults in every state are overweight or obese, and childhood obesity rates also are increasing, with poverty and institutional racism major factors that inhibit progress in reducing the problems, said John Auerbach, CEO of Trust for America’s Health. Auerbach was at a forum to highlight the group’s 2019 State of Obesity report and to discuss local solutions to prevent future generations from becoming overweight or obese.

“In 2012 no state had an obesity rate over 35%, but by 2018, nine states did,” Auerbach said. “In 2016, which was the most recently available data for children, 18.5% of children between the ages 2 and 19 had obesity.” (Read more)