Obesity and Overweight on Latinas Girls and Women Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1757 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Social Issues

Overweight and Obesity Latino Women

The female Latino population is experiencing a significant health problem in relation to the frequency of being overweight or obese.

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Term Paper on Obesity and Overweight on Latinas Girls and Women Assignment

Latino Women in the Los Angeles County area between the ages of 18 and 24. Based on the statistics available in the United Way ZIP Code Data Book, based on 2000 census statistics there were 4,242,213 Latino individuals in Los Angeles County according to national averages, slightly over half of those individuals are female and according to the percentages of the total population about one fourth of that half is between the ages of 18 and 24. Of the total Latino population about 1/4 live below, at or barely above the federal poverty level, and we can assume that many of those are between the ages of 18 and 24 and about half are again female. (United Way Zip code Data for LA County at (http://www.unitedwayla.com/pfdfiles/spa_data/SPA_Zipcode_Data_2002_cen_data_final.pdf) According to the Los Angeles County Health Indicators for Women, May 2007, 74.9% of the female Latino population lives below 200% of the federal poverty level. Additionally, women in the 18-49 age group are more likely to be foreign born and a good portion of them are ESL speakers or exclusively speak a language other than English. Furthermore 43% of Latino women in the county complete less than high school as compared to 22% of the rest of the population. Of the Latina population in general 36.3% are overweight (according to Body Mass Index ratings of between 25 and 30) and 27.1% are obese with a BMI of greater than 30. Additionally, among all women in LA County between the ages 18-49 reported eating fewer servings of fruits and vegetables. 37.7% of Latino women are at risk for heart disease and 6.8 have already been diagnosed, 21.5% have hypertension, 10.1% have been diagnosed with diabetes and 24.3% have higher than normal cholesterol, statistics among the highest among races of women in LA county. Lastly, among all LA county women 43% report being minimally active or inactive, and many do not receive regular health screenings, due to limited insurance access, which is lower among women aged 64 and below. (LA County Health Indicators for Women 2005 at (http://lapublichealth.org/wwwfiles/ph/hae/ha/WomensHealthIndicators05.pdf)

Problem Analysis: Incidence, Prevalence and Etiology

Statistically the increase of the overall female population that is overweight or obese has increased since 1997 from 15% -20% and have increased by the largest degree among Latina women, 19% (1997) -27% (2005). Looking at the statistics the reasons that this is happening has a great deal to do with the level of activity as well as diet, among those in the at risk population who frequently report eating fewer than the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables as well as self-report being minimally active or inactive on a regular basis.

Theories and Research that address the problem:

Most experts agree that the two most common factors that contribute to conditions of overweight are, poor diet and inactivity. Additionally, there is significant evidence that patterns of poor eating and inactivity begin very early, as Television watching, limited access to environments that promote healthy activity as well as, limited early intervention programs in high risk populations, especially among ethnic minorities. One issue that could be particularly troubling to the Latino community is an emphasis on television as a teaching tool for language learning, as a result of limited access to other services and the frequent watching of Spanish programs in the home to keep the individuals connected to the culture of their homes.

Children and adolescents spend more time watching television than they do in almost any other activity. By the time they reach school-age, about half of U.S. children watch television more than two hours a day, and 17% of African-American children watch more than five hours a day. (45) Many studies link TV viewing with overweight. (46) Randomized controlled trials indicate that watching fewer hours of TV can reduce children's body mass index and obesity risk. (47) TV viewing, therefore, may be one important cause of childhood obesity that parents can modify at home.

Lindsay, Sussner, Kim, and Gortmaker 169)

The situation of feeling unsafe in the outside physical environement and not having close access to parks and recreation centers in many part of the Latino community is a frequently cited issue, relating to obesity among young people in general but especially young women as their feelings of safety in the community are lower than that of their male peers, and parents may be more likely to keep them home for cultural and safety reasons. "The dialogue about obesity and inactivity must move beyond personal responsibility and individual choice, to address the built environment." (Garcia, Flores, and Chang 1267) the active living movement, as it has progressed over the years was initially very focused on reaching out to communities on the edges, or the suburbs rather than on inner cities and high density population areas, as it provided an arena of less resistance as well as greater fundability.

Initially, the active living movement focused mostly on shortcomings in the built environment of middle-class, suburban communities (Jackson, 2003), though this emphasis is beginning to shift...efforts to promote active living should especially target low-income, Black, and Latino communities, where the need is most acute and the resources least available.

Day 88)

Lastly a point I found rather interesting and could see as a very logical though underappreciated problem is that in high-density communities there are fewer supermarkets and grocery stores, where many fresh fruits and vegetables as well as other healthier foods are sold at very reasonable prices. In high population-density areas the options for shopping are limited to corner markets, and are especially limited to those who for reasons of time and language barriers do not frequently leave their communities to shop for food. In this New York example one very clear reason why young Latino women in LA county have a particularly high rate of overweight and obesity can be seen:

With fewer supermarkets available, low-income minority families may be more likely to shop in small corner stores or bodegas. These stores tend to offer markedly less healthful foods in lower-income neighborhoods, as demonstrated in a New York study comparing in-store food availability in low-income, minority East Harlem and the adjacent, affluent Upper East Side. (44) Prices of more healthful foods may also be higher in bodegas and corner stores than in supermarkets. One study reported that although low-fat milk was available in more than two-thirds of the bodegas in areas where residents were less educated, had lower incomes, and were Latino, some such stores charged more for low-fat milk than for regular milk. (45) Evidence shows that higher prices for more healthful foods have an effect on children's weight. A recent study based on a nationally representative sample of elementary school children concludes that children living in areas with lower prices of fruits and vegetables had significantly lower gains in BMI between kindergarten and third grade. Further, these effects were larger for children in poverty, children who were obese or overweight in kindergarten, and Asian and Hispanic children. (46) This evidence is consistent with that from a study of low-income women in Baltimore that found the cost of fresh produce kept them from eating more fruits and vegetables. (47)

Kumanyika, and Grier 187)

One last thing to mention on this note is that the availability of fresh and good looking fruits and vegetables is relatively high in Mexico and in other areas where many Latinos originate and the comparative sample of the offerings in American corner stores would leave most people wanting. If the fruits or vegetables are available they may not represent themselves well and would therefore not be desirable to buy.

Services available to address the problem:

Though there are services to address the problem, many are educationally based, and therefore young women lose access to any they have known when they either leave school or finish school. Therefore the age demographic between 18-24 is at greater risk and could be at an even higher risk due to the fact that these young women are of childbearing age, some are having children and this offers a whole new host of health related issues with regard to weight loss and maintenance. A bilingual awareness program is definitely called for in this case and an emphasis on the areas where these young women, such as the workplace and local events needs to be the focus of the marketing of such programs. Additionally, areas where low income women frequent, like free clinics and birth control clinics need to be blanketed with information regarding programs that exist or might be started, for this demographic. The issue of safety in the external environment must also be considered, as well as time appropriate offerings, as most of these women are working by age 18 and may have limited time for activity.

Program Hypothesis:

Proposing any program to better meet the needs of this demographic should… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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