Portions, Sugar, and America’s Sizable Problem

Roundup: Blacks have the highest obesity rate, at almost 48 percent, followed by Hispanics and whites; Asians are lowest at about 11 percent.

  NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: A woman walks by a sign advertising sugary drinks in a Brooklyn neighborhood with a high rate of obesity and diabetes on June 11, 2013 in New York City. Three months after a judge struck down New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg administration's ban on large sugary drinks, lawyers for Bloomberg are trying to convince an appeals court on Tuesday to reinstate a ban. On Monday, New York City health officials declared a "diabetes epidemic" in New York stating that deaths linked to the disease have reached an all-time high in the five boroughs of new York. According to the Health Department,  a record 5,695 people died from diabetes and related causes in 2011. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 11: A woman walks by a sign advertising sugary drinks in a Brooklyn neighborhood with a high rate of obesity and diabetes on June 11, 2013 in New York City. Three months after a judge struck down New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg administration's ban on large sugary drinks, lawyers for Bloomberg are trying to convince an appeals court on Tuesday to reinstate a ban. On Monday, New York City health officials declared a "diabetes epidemic" in New York stating that deaths linked to the disease have reached an all-time high in the five boroughs of new York. According to the Health Department, a record 5,695 people died from diabetes and related causes in 2011.   
National Journal
Jody Brannon
Add to Briefcase
Jody Brannon
Oct. 25, 2013, 9:37 a.m.

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


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


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

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