This roundup of stories relevant to health and disparities are from Oct. 15-25.
One-Third of U.S. Adults Are Obese, CDC Says, as Rate Holds Steady. One in three Americans carry unhealthy amounts of weight, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings that indicate an obesity rate of 32 percent to 35 percent in recent years. Blacks have the highest obesity rate (47.8 percent), followed by Hispanics (42.5 percent) and whites (32.6 percent). Asians have the lowest obesity rate (10.8 percent). Health Day
- Obesity Rate Still at Epidemic Levels. Think Progress
- 5 Frightening Facts About Obesity in the U.S. Business Insider
- Grant to Study Impact of Wellness Coaching on Reducing Obesity in African-American Women. MyFox8
Hidden Risks of Being ‘Skinny Fat’: Asian Americans More Prone to Obesity, Despite Lower Weights. While categorizing obese Filipinos with underweight Koreans creates misleading average BMI scores and only 11 percent of Asian-Americans are obese, that number is expected to rise by 2042. Medical Daily
- Asians More Likely to Store Fat Between Their Organs, Causing Health Issues. Daily Mail
Developmental Approach to Obesity in Children, Adolescents in Focus. New studies of factors affecting the risk of obesity in children and adolescents — as well as promising approaches to prevention and treatment — are assembled in the special October issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Highlighted studies include findings that indicate the obesity risk among low-income minority children whose parents were born outside the United States is sometimes lower compared with those with U.S.-born parents and that spending free time with peers may help to reduce obesity risk among African-American middle-school-aged children. Science Daily
The Risks Behind Full-Figured Latinos. Latinos are highly regarded for being a community that values family and traditional cuisine, but a recent health report suggests that compared with any other ethnic group in the nation, Latinos are more prone to health risks due to an increase in full-figured bodies. “We love our curves, but the line between beautiful and deadly curves is blurred,” wrote blogger Elma Dieppa, whose sister died of a heart attack at age 44. CNN Latino
More Adolescents in California Are Drinking Sugary Beverages. A study finds that fully 65 percent of children between 12 and 17 drink soda and other sugary drinks every day, which is an 8 percent spike since 2005, when the study began, researchers at two California institutions say. Researchers found that 73 percent of Latinos teens and 74 percent of African-American teens drank more sweetened beverages than their Asian (63 percent) and white (56 percent) counterparts in recent years. LA Beez
- Kids, Making Sweet Choices, Consuming Their Way to Health Problems. Oakland Local
Demographics Changing America’s Taste Buds as Salsa Tops Ketchup as Top Condiment. With Hispanics making up more than a quarter of the U.S. population today — and growing fast — experts say this change is dramatically flavoring the American culinary experience. Hispanic foods and beverages were an $8 billion market in the last year, according to consumer research firm Packaged Facts. By 2017, that number may reach $11 billion. And that’s influencing how all Americans eat. Associated Press
Bringing Healthy Food Alternatives to Boyle Heights. Public Matters’ Market Makeover is a strategy that addresses the “grocery gap” in “food deserts,” areas that have limited access to quality, healthy food; an overabundance of fast food; and alarmingly high rates of chronic conditions related to poor diet. This continuing series looks at Boyle Heights, a highly diverse Los Angeles community where a quarter of children in fifth, seventh, and ninth grades suffer from obesity. KCET
- Latina Dietitian on Mission to Bust Nutrition Myths, Emphasize Home-Cooked Meals. Latina Lista
¡Vive tu vida! ‘Get Up! Get Moving!’ Program Begins 10-City Tour. More than 25,000 people are expected at community events coordinated in part by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health as a series kicks off Saturday in Los Angeles. The series swing through eight states will conclude next October. The days will feature music and dance demonstrations, good nutrition stations, and the chance to talk to a certified diabetes educator. PR Web
$2.5 Million Donated to Boost Nutrition Education Programs for Families. The Walmart Foundation announced a $2.5 million grant to Share Our Strength to help families gain hands-on shopping, cooking, and nutrition education so they eat more wisely on a budget. The “Cooking Matters at the Store” tours will be available nationwide and six-week courses will be offered in the 16 states and the District of Columbia. Diversity Inc.
Low Vitamin D Levels Raise Anemia Risk in Children. Low levels of the “sunshine” vitamin D appear to increase a child’s risk of anemia, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. The study in the Journal of Pediatrics found that black children had higher rates of anemia compared with white children (14 percent vs. 2 percent) and considerably lower vitamin D levels overall, but their anemia risk didn’t rise until their vitamin D levels dropped far lower than those of white children. The Almagest
Research Targets Diabetes Risk in Latinos. Researchers from Boise State University had their manuscript, “The Relationship of Metabolic Syndrome and Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile of Latinos in the Northwest,” accepted for publication in the journal Hispanic Health Care International. Their findings suggest that Latinos, at higher risk of developing diabetes, may improve their health through a combination of higher physical activity and stress management. Boise State Media
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
Latino Groups Aim to Educate Hispanic Community about Affordable Care Act. Latino groups are making a big push to help the estimated 10 million uninsured Latinos nationwide who could benefit from the Affordable Care Act. NBC Latino
- Community ACA Programs in Place to Help 4 Million in Texas. La Plaza
Health Insurance Market Place: A Tough Place as a Green-Card Holder. Posting to CNN, a program manager from Fairfax, Va., born in Europe addresses the frustrations of the broken ACA online experience and addresses facing people who have a green card who still must “provide additional prove that you are eligible for health insurance.” CNN iReport
Biggest Roadblocks to Asian Mental Health May Come From Within. Asian Americans are about half as likely to use mental health services than the general population, the California Asian Pacific Islander Joint Legislative Caucus estimates. While among certain age groups, Asian American women have been found to have the highest numbers of suicide mortalities, experts say a strong stigma among many in the Asian community against acknowledging mental illness may be the foremost factor that discourages members of the Asian Pacific Islander community from seeking mental-health services. KPCC
- Indiana Researcher Hopes Study Can Help Latino Youth With Mental Health Issues. Associated Press
The Latino Paradox: Mental Health Appears to Not Be an Exception. Upon arrival, struggling low-income Latino immigrants are generally healthier than most segments of the U.S. population but as their residency lengths, their health may deteriorate, research suggests. For instance, U.S.-born Latinos are at significantly higher risk than immigrant Latinos for major depressive episodes. NAMI Blog
Community Awareness Key for Blacks to Embrace Mental-Health Services. Blacks in St. Louis and St. Louis County are more likely than whites to turn to costly emergency-room care for alcohol and substance disorders, anxiety, and mood disorders, a Washington University researcher has found. Assistant professor Darrell L. Hudson said African-Americans still stigmatize mental health issues and are slow to seek help. St. Louis Beacon
Boosting Young Men of Color. “Imagine that you walk into the newborn nursery ward at an American hospital and you see 100 babies in their bassinets. You are then informed that 33 of these babies will spend time in jail or prison. This is the reality today for African-American males born in our country. As a black husband, father and physician, I am sick of it. So I asked the board of the private health foundation I lead for a three-month leave to investigate why opportunity and wellness elude so many of our black, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander sons.” Robert Ross, CEO of the California Endowment, details his effort. Los Angeles Times
Should ‘Race’ be a Criterion for Inclusion in a Clinical Trial? Is it appropriate for drug labeling to mention race specifically? For instance, should a drug’s label say that only “white people” should take it? Noted researchers weigh in on the issue. National Center for Policy Analysis
Epigenetics of Being Black and Feeling Blue: Black Vulnerability to Disease. In epidemiology and other closely related social-science disciplines, it has been well established that social class position is inversely linked to poor health. Racism Review
Latinos at Increased Risk for Health Issues Due to Chemical Exposure. Everyone is at risk for health issues related to chemical exposure, but Latinos are at increased risk for premature birth and cancer associated with this issue, more so than among non-Hispanic whites. Voxxi
Racial and Social Disparities in Kidney Allocation Discovered. Among younger kidney transplant recipients, a disproportionate number of African-Americans and individuals with less education receive organs that are of lower quality or are considered marginal, according to forthcoming study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Tammy’s Health Articles
Study: Improving Grad Rates Can Improve Public Health. Dropping out of high school greatly increases the risk of illness and disability in young adulthood, a study finds, providing further evidence that education is one of the greatest social determinants of health and a key leverage point in improving health across the lifespan. Researchers publishing in the journal BMC Public Health found that dropping out of high school was associated with later illness and disability even after adjusting for other factors, such as such as family socioeconomic status, health-related risk behaviors, psychosocial risk factors and school problems. Science Blogs
Young African-American Women Affected Most by Uterine Fibroids. A recent study in the Journal of Women’s Health revealed that African-American women, ages 29-39, suffer the most complications from uterine fibroids. “The Burden of Uterine Fibroids for African-American Women” study outlines the medical, emotional, and economical challenges faced by this group of women, who are nearly three times more likely to be affected. Huffington Post
Why Some Girls Are Skirting the HPV Vaccine. Only 54 percent of adolescent girls receive the first dose of the three-part human papillomavirus vaccine series, and only 33 percent competed the protocol. The numbers are lower among women of low socioeconomic status. They have the highest risk of developing cervical cancer because of their limited access to other preventative measures, like annual exams and pap smears. Among the Hispanic who begin the vaccine series, minorities and the impoverished are much less likely to complete it, partly because Spanish-speaking parents don’t understand the importance of completing the vaccine series, and health care providers are not following up about scheduling doses 2 and 3. WBUR
Mississippi Toddler Still HIV Free. Treated with drugs before an HIV-positive diagnosis was confirmed, a girl born 2.5 years ago is considered to be “functionally cured,” researchers say. They hope to extend such early treatment more widely. CNN
Changing the Common Rule to Increase Minority Voices in Research. A forthcoming article in the American Journal of Public Health recommends changing the federal regulations that govern oversight of human subjects research (“the Common Rule”) to address continued underrepresentation of minorities in research studies. The issue is linked to the problem of underrepresentation of African-Americans and other minorities in research, because numerous diseases and health conditions, regardless of income, age, or gender, disproportionately affect these populations. Without adequate representation of minority populations in research, these health disparities will likely persist. Science Daily
Project Addresses Minorities’ Wariness of Health Testing and Research. The Maryland Center for Health Equity has launched an educational campaign to address possible shortcomings in researchers who may not be knowledgeable about why minority communities are historically reluctant to engage in medical testing. “Be mindful that the vast majority of health professionals and researchers in this country are white,” MCHE director Stephen B. Thomas said. “And so building trust between minorities and researchers will mean that we address both sides of the coin.” Diverse Issues in Education
MORE ABOUT HEALTH DISPARITIES
Mapping Food Justice. Seven projects trying to address health, racial and socioeconomic disparities through farming and community gardens are profiled. Colorlines
10 States Facing the Biggest Physician Shortages. States with higher median incomes and fewer uninsured residents tend to have better physician-to-resident ratios, according to a state-by-state analysis of the looming national physician shortage. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the national physician shortage will exceed 90,000 by 2020. Seven of the states with the 10 lowest physician-to-resident ratios have rates of uninsured residents that are higher than the 15.5 percent national rate. Mississippi has only 159.4 physicians per 100,000 residents), followed by Utah, Idaho, Texas, Alabama, Nevada, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Georgia, with 179.9 per 100,000. The Advisory Board
What We're Following See More »
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.
Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.