African live, but an excessive body fat is


           African Americans are one of the
largest ethnic groups in the United States with part or total ancestry from any
of the black racial groups of Africa. African-Americans make up about 13% of
the U.S population. They are the second largest minority population, following
the Hispanic/Latino population. Despite all efforts to improve the general
Health and reducing disparities in the United States, minorities, especially
African Americans still experiencing health disparities and suffering from
chronic health issues, live in poverty, have difficulty obtaining health care.
Inequities in income, lack access to quality healthcare, access to quality
education and many other factors that influence a person’s chance to live
longer and healthier life. African American today still lack the power over
decisions and actions that could eliminate health disparities. These health
disparities that still African American experience, contribute to higher rates
of obesity and related illnesses in African American communities. Obesity is
more prevalent in the African-American community and has been a growing concern
in recent decades. There are many factors and barriers that contribute to obesity
among African Americans. Why is Obesity an issue in the United States? And why
is Obesity a disparity among African Americans?

             Obesity is one of the most common
medical problems in the world. Even though Americans today are aware and have
more knowledge of the impact of obesity on health than ever before, but obesity
is more prevalent today than ever before. African Americans are the most obese
of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. the prevalence of obesity
among African American continues to increase. In 2015, The death rate for
African 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.

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             Everyone needs some fats in his
body 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 to
the centers for disease control and prevention, more than one-third (36.5%) of
U.S. adults have obesity, it is not just a weight problem and how you look but
people who are obese are at an increased risk for many serious health issues
including Heart disease and stroke “cardiovascular disease (CVD) ranks as the
number one killer of African Americans, claiming the lives of 36% of the more
than 290,000 African Americans who die each year. It was also reported that the
rate of high blood pressure in African Americans in the U.S. is among the
highest in the world”. (American Heart Association 2005). High blood pressure,
Diabetes that is a major cause of early death, Cancer, Reproductive problems
obesity may cause infertility issues in women. Gallbladder disease and
gallstones, Osteoarthritis, and some breathing problems, such as sleep apnea
and asthma.

            Obesity, in general, is identifying
as weighing above the normal and ideal weight for a healthy individual. “Weight
that 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 know
that your weight is healthy or not doctors classify people as either
underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. there is a measure called
Body Mass Index or BMI and it is an estimate of body fat and is the most widely
used diagnostic tool within the health industry, it is the calculation of body
weight in relation to height. (BMI ?30 kg/m2) is obese and (BMI ? 25 kg/m2) is
overweight. There is a difference between obesity and overweight and the
difference is that Obesity means having too much body fat, while overweight
means weighing too much. I have never heard of BMI before it’s something new to
me, and when I use it I found out that I’m overweight! I used to think that I’m
in good shape, so I need to make healthy changes in my eating habit.

             More than one-third of U.S. adults
are obese, and Obesity is a great threat to one’s health.

There is no denying that
everyone wants to have a well-built body, and not to be obese, obesity is not
just how we look, but it’s also a risk factor for many health issues. According
to the World Health Organization, rates of obesity are higher for African
American than White, and sure there are many reasons for that. there is no
single cause of obesity but there are some factors including socioeconomic
status, culture, and genetics that may be contributing to the problem of
obesity among African American. “The association of low socioeconomic status
with increased use of alcohol and cigarette smoking increased unemployment, and
a higher caloric intake has been observed in the economically heterogeneous
adult Black population”. (American Journal of Public Health 1992). So, there is
a relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and health.

“Inequitable access to
healthy foods as determined by socioeconomic factors could influence the diet
and 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 poor
access to full-service grocery stores and farmers’ markets that offer fresh
food and restaurants that serve healthy food, in those areas you can find that
the number of fast food restaurants is significantly high especially near
schools compared to fast food restaurants in high-income neighborhoods.
Consumption of processed and convenience foods regularly may contribute to
obesity, because fast foods contain fat, saturated fat, high calories, and too
much sugar that are not good for one’s health. Sometimes healthy food may be
more expensive if available and this is a big problem for low-income families.
Also, education contributes in obesity, people with lower education who make
less 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 neighborhood
where a person lives affects his health positively or negatively. Poor
neighborhoods are neglected by politicians: Insufficient services, poor
transportation, less athletic facilities, parks. People who live in poor
neighborhoods are less healthy compared to those who live in good
neighborhoods. Violent and crimes that occur in poor areas preventing people
from being active outside. Children attend under-funded schools, that serve
unhealthy foods, those are things that they have no control of.

Culture may also
contribute to obesity. Being beautiful differs from one culture to another,
Many African-American views that being obese as part of their culture, I’m from
North Africa and in the south of my country despite the development of society
people still view that obesity is a symbol of beauty and wealth especially for
women, in their culture being fat is beautiful. And really, I know families in
the south of my country who prepare their daughters to get married by forcing
them to eat more in order to attract rich families and a good husband. But
women have started to change their view of beauty and this culture began to
disappear, but it still exists. But I think that culture contributes only in a
small part of the cause.

Science shows that genetics
influence whether you become obese or not. “New research indicates that people
with certain genetic variations may tend to graze for food more often, eat more
meals, and consume more calories every day, as well as display patterns of
seeking out high-fat food groups”. (Health the Basics, 11th ed). Genes play an
important role in obesity. Parents who are obese are more likely to have
overweight children.


              Obesity has become a serious and
significant health problem in modern life in the United States not only because
of the serious health consequences associated with obesity but also because of
the economic costs that affect most people. The treatment and health
consequences of obesity-related illness cost billions of dollars a year and
impose an economic burden on the healthcare systems. “The estimated annual
medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the
medical costs for people who have obesity were $1,429 higher than those of
normal weight”. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The community and public
health intervention programs that tackle the problem of obesity have been met
with little success and the prevalence of obesity is still rising. I believe
that in order to combat obesity we have to target the Barriers that contribute
to obesity at personal, environmental and socioeconomic levels. Understanding
the causes and contributing factors of this disparity will help in creating the
good strategy in weight-loss intervention since there is no single cause of all
overweight and obesity, there is no single way to prevent or treat overweight
and obesity that will help everyone (CDC, 2009). there is no one quick solution
or easy fix to the issue of obesity but government community and individuals
should work together and make the change sooner rather than later. The
government should focus on the Socioeconomic factors: increase the minimum wage
to enable working families to buy the healthy foods, it should also restrict
the production of junk and cheap foods, restricting junk food advertising, and
Subsidize healthy foods in programs for low-income families. Individuals should
change their eating lifestyle by eating healthy foods and increasing physical
activity by these changes life expectancy can be increased, and individuals can
live a healthy life.



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