Black Obesity, Policy & Anger Towards Michelle Obama
According to the Centers for disease control (CDC), a person with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25 is considered overweight. BMI is a quick approximation that assesses for body fatness in an effort to help screen for obesity. Obesity is a serious problem in the United States and is considered a major risk factor in developing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes (type 2), heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease and cancer of the breast, prostate and colon.
African Americans disproportionately have higher levels of obesity, with black women occupying the highest rates in the United States. Eighty percent of black women are considered overweight or clinically obese, and this number is steadily on the rise despite efforts at improving health literacy.
There are many reasons for the increased prevalence of obesity in Black America. A cultural history of fried and fatty food, and the prevalence of fast and cheap prepared food are largely to blame. The degree of inequality that exists in U.S. society presents another significant challenge in that economic resources largely drive healthy food choices. Black Americans have a much higher risk of living in poverty than white people (in 2011 the poverty rate for all African Americans persons was 27.5 percent), which makes the buying and consuming of more salubrious foods problematic.
In 2010, African Americans were 70% less likely to engage in active physical activity as non-Hispanic Whites, and deaths from disease and stroke are almost twice the rate for African Americans as compared to Whites. First Lady Michelle Obama’s signature 2010 legislation, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFK), aims to stamp out childhood obesity in public schools by banning some foods, such as whole and 2 percent milk, and rationing others, such as potatoes and peas. But her efforts have not come without controversy. Student athletes are especially complaining that the 850 a day calorie diet lunch doesn’t provide enough food for their growing, hard-working bodies. “Now [lunch] is worse-tasting, smaller-sized and higher-priced,” a Wisconsin high school senior told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, echoing some of the problems of government these days. Hungry Minnesota students are “scavenging the lunchrooms after lunch,” and Kansas students are bringing lunch to school in droves while angrily writing state representatives.
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