Health Affairs Explores Strategies For Combating Child Obesity Epidemic

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“Health Affairs, the leading peer-reviewed journal of health policy thought and research founded under Project Hope (nonprofit international health education organization), explores health policy issues of current concern.” (Health Affairs) In this case, Health Affairs is looking for strategies to deal with the epidemic of childhood obesity. Children are becoming obese, even as young as 4 years old, and are subjected to diabetes and heart problems because of their weight. With a continually increasing rate, child obesity is even more common among minorities. Some factors to this epidemic include, improper daily calorie intake, and the marketing of “calorie-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages aimed at children.” (Health Affairs)

In order to combat this problem Health Affairs believes that promoting healthier school meals and eliminating the sale of junk food in schools will help to make a difference. In addition, the use of GIS mapping has allowed for efficient data visualization and examination. Data collected by the CDC portrayed in the GIS mapping has helped reveal the extent of the problem (at both the national and state level). In one example in Texas, two neighborhoods outside downtown Austin were identified using GIS to have high obesity rates. “Armed with this information, community groups were able to design obesity interventions tailored to each neighborhood.” (Health Affairs)

Sources: Health Affairs

Christine Irven, VERTICES intern


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