Obesity, Poverty and the Built Environment: Challenges and Opportunities
12 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 9, 2008
Obesity and its associated chronic diseases heave become one of the major health concerns in the United States and around the world. Approximately two thirds of adults in the United States either overweight or obese, and the condition is linked to diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions requiring ongoing medical supervision. Obesity is a particular health concern for the poor. Not only are obesity rates generally higher among those with lower socioeconomic status, but the chronic conditions caused by obesity may present a particular challenge for the poor who often lack access to necessary ongoing medical supervision.
Obesity is linked to behaviors related to food consumption and physical activity. Although the factors affecting behaviors in these areas are complex, there is growing evidence that the physical characteristics of many of our communities, and particularly poorer communities, encourage obesity-generating behaviors including a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits. This paper explores the relationship between obesogenic behavior and the physical characteristics of communities and highlights some of the challenges and opportunities associated with changing those physical characteristics.
Keywords: obesity, built environment
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