Obesity in America is a huge problem. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than two thirds of adults, and one third of children, are considered overweight or obese.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released an obesity prevalence map delineated by race, and the results are startling. While every group seems to be struggling with their weight in America, communities of color are hardest hit.
“It is the largest epidemic of a chronic disease that we’ve ever seen in human history,” Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the department of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, told NPR in an interview.
The CDC found Black Americans had an obesity rate of over 35 percent in 33 states. For Hispanics, the number dropped to 9 states, while whites had an obesity rate north of 35 percent in just one state.
Researchers say the numbers are due to a combination of factors, including socioeconomic conditions that limit access to higher paying jobs, nutritious and affordable food, and healthier environments.
“It is not about one group doing something wrong. It is about the environment that we have built that sets people up to fail,” Lloyd-Jones explained. “Our neighborhoods, workplaces and schools expose people, especially poor people, to less choices of healthy foods.”
The Obama Administration has made reducing the obesity rate a top priority, with First Lady Michelle Obama leading the charge through her Let’s Move campaign.