N.Y. Times Editorial Health Disparities, Obesity and Physical Activity: Health Equity in All PoliciesPosted: May 7th, 2012
A study of diabetes in overweight and obese youngsters bears an ominous warning about future health care trends in this country. It found that Type 2 diabetes, a new scourge among young people, progresses faster and is harder to treat in youngsters than in adults. The toll on their health as they grow older could be devastating.
These findings provide more evidence of why the country must get the obesity epidemic under control — to improve health and to curb soaring health care costs.
Only two decades ago Type 2 diabetes was called “adult-onset diabetes” because it was seldom found in young people . . . . Type 2 — thought to be brought on by obesity and inactivity in many people — has increased alarmingly and accounts for almost a fifth of newly diagnosed cases in young people. . . . [S]ome 17 percent of American children from age 2 to 19 are now considered obese, roughly half the rate of obesity among adults. . . .
The findings are especially ominous because poorly controlled diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations and kidney failure. The longer one has the disease, the greater the risk, so the fact that children are starting so young bodes ill for their futures. . . .
[T]he long-term goal should be prevention of obesity and of diabetes.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are bent on dismantling health care reforms that could greatly assist in curbing the obesity epidemic. The Republican-dominated House last month narrowly passed a bill that would eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, established under the reform law, in part to pay for lowering the interest rate on subsidized student loans for a year.
The fund is already providing grants to state and local governments to help pay for programs to fight obesity and prevent chronic diseases, including diabetes, in the community, the workplace and among minority groups that have high rates of both obesity and diabetes. Killing off this program would be hugely costly to Americans’ health, and future health care costs. There is no explanation for this move, except for the usual anti-health care reform demagogy.
Read the rest of this editorial in the New York Times . . .
Children of color and low income children disproportionately suffer from obesity and inactivity. They disproportionately lack access to physical activity in parks, and in schools that do not provide physical education.
According to the National Park Service, for example, “People of color and low income populations still face disparities regarding health and access to parks.” “In regard to obesity, 36 percent of black and 35 percent of Hispanic high school students nationwide are overweight or obese, while 24 percent of non-Hispanic white high school students suffer from these conditions.”
The City Project is addressing health equity in all policies and equal access to healthy parks, schools and communities.