Minority Children Going Hungry During Summer Months

From the Grio.com

Many minority children go hungry during the summer

Many minority children go hungry during the summer

Lack of access to healthy meals during summer months is, ironically, causing two separate health issues among minority children: hunger and obesity.

Statistics from the Food Research and Action Center show that 32 percent of

black households with children were food insecure in 2010, almost 12 percent higher than the national average.

This research indicates that food insecurity — when families do not know if they will have enough food to eat — is also to blame for the rises in obesity and hunger.

Another FRAC report explains that hunger, caused by a lack of sufficient healthy foods, and obesity, due to unhealthy eating and bad exercise habits, are the result of low incomes and a lack of access to nutritious foods.

The two problems can co-exist due to poverty, experts say. And, during the summer when many low-income parents can hardly afford camps, many minority children are left inactive and eating poorly.

Low-income parents may also experience what FRAC calls cycles of food deprivation and overeating — essentially skipping meals to stretch budgets, and overeating whenever they do eat.

Education experts have dealt with this phenomenon for many years, of how to overcome the lack of access to food and physical activity once school is out. Adequate nutrition is fundamental for brain development and improves a child’s cognitive functioning, which helps improve grades during the school year, they say.

Room4Debate: Are rising obesity costs the new second-hand smoke?

by Caryn Freeman of the Grio.com

The growing obesity epidemic is impacting Americans in ways they may not yet be aware of. The costs associated with taking care of the transportation, health and safety of America’s consistently growing obese population are all being passed on to taxpayers. A new substructure to accommodate obese Americans in public places is yet another costly expense. Because these costs are not reported as much as the impact of obesity on health care, some Americans aren’t fully aware of the financial burden they are bearing.

Reuters reports that there are already costly overhauls taking place in hospitals and within the public transposition sector. “U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. In addition to those expenditures, it’s been revealed that, “cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.”

Some are comparing the startling cost of the obesity epidemic to costs associated with smoking related illnesses. It wasn’t until Americans became aware of the damage cigarette smoking had on one’s health and until the public and legislators became aware of the devastating impact of second hand smoke. Eventually, Congress passed legislation to restrict smoking in public facilities.

Health advocates are hoping that creating greater public awareness of the costs related to obesity will spark the same type of response.

How can Black America get healthier? What are your thoughts?

Room4Debate: Are Black Women Fat Because They Want to Be?

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, author Alice Randall describes the obsesity epidemic in the black community and argues that many black women want to be fat. Randall states:

“What we need is a body-culture revolution in black America. Why? Because too many experts who are involved in the discussion of obesity don’t understand something crucial about black women and fat: many black women are fat because we want to be.

The black poet Lucille Clifton’s 1987 poem “Homage to My Hips” begins with the boast, “These hips are big hips.” She establishes big black hips as something a woman would want to have and a man would desire. She wasn’t the first or the only one to reflect this community knowledge. Twenty years before, in 1967, Joe Tex, a black Texan, dominated the radio airwaves across black America with a song he wrote and recorded, “Skinny Legs and All.” One of his lines haunts me to this day: “some man, somewhere who’ll take you baby, skinny legs and all.” For me, it still seems almost an impossibility.

Chemically, in its ability to promote disease, black fat may be the same as white fat. Culturally it is not.”

What are your thoughts?

Read more of the story here.