September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

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September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Obesity disproportionately affects minority children and children from low socio-economic status families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six children and adolescents residing in the United States of America is obese. That means that 18.5 percent of children are obese. This rate increases to 25.8 percent for Hispanic children, and to 22 percent for non-Hispanic black children.

Children who are from low-income households are more likely to suffer from obesity. Families with a low socio-economic status face several environmental challenges that can increase the risk for obesity and diabetes. Children from low-income households are more likely to reside in neighborhoods with a disproportionately high number of fast food restaurants and a disproportionately low number of grocery stores, otherwise known as food desserts.

Living in a food dessert means having a longer commute to buy groceries which can add an extra burden for caretakers to provide nutritious meals for their families, especially those who struggle from lack of transportation. In addition, living in a neighborhood with high crime rates can make playing at parks unsafe, resulting in a more sedentary lifestyle.

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