Healthy Communities Project

Introduction

The epidemic rise in obesity occurring within the U.S. has alarmed public health officials and providers, specifically the rates seen in adolescents and children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 17% of children and teens are obese, tripling since the 1960s and increasing most dramatically during the 1980s and 1990s. Nationally, obesity among adults is estimated at 34% and is most common among middle-aged persons and black and Hispanic women.

Obesity, nutrition and diabetes share numerous contributing factors including body weight and diet, both of which are basic determinants of health status. Good nutrition plays a major role in children’s growth and development. Among adults, a healthy diet and appropriate body weight lower the risk of chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus ranks as the seventh highest causes of death. It lowers life expectancy, elevates the risk of other health problems such as heart disease, blindness, and chronic kidney disease, and uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious, disabling conditions.

The increasing prevalence and relationship to leading causes of death such as heart disease, some cancers, and disability; obesity has become a top public health problem nationwide.

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