Obesity is a present health concern in the US and it’s important that it is continued to be discussed about. In order to prevent and decrease obesity rates in the US, there have been many attempts and programs to help people better understand what causes obesity, how to prevent it, and the ways we can educate people on it.
Some quick facts from a research conducted by CDC:
“Childhood obesity is associated with negative health consequences in childhood (1) that continue into adulthood (2), putting adults at risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers (1). Obesity disproportionately affects children from low-income families (3).
Overall obesity prevalence increased from 14.0% in 2000 to 15.5% in 2004 and 15.9% in 2010, and then decreased to 14.5% in 2014. During 2010–2014, the prevalence of obesity decreased significantly overall, among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indian/Alaska Natives and Asians/Pacific Islanders, and among 34 (61%) of the 56 WIC state agencies in states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.” – CDC
Who is generally at risk for obesity:
People without access to healthy food/alternative food options
What can we do to prevent obesity?
Spread the knowledge of obesity among friends, families, peers, co-workers, etc. through various use of communications and social media platforms
Encourage people to live a active, balance, and healthier lifestyle by:
Encouraging healthy habits
Participating in activities outside of home/schools/work environment
Buying produces at local markets/groceries or partaking in a community garden or growing your own produces
Using other methods of transportation such as walking, biking, skating, etc.
In celebration of Martin Luther King day, let’s highlight some of the accomplishments from the African American community and other fun facts!
On November 2, 1983, the bill for Martin Luther King day was signed by President Ronald Reagan.
Michael Curry became the the first Black leader of Episcopal church in June of 2015.
“The poverty rate among blacks is the highest of any racial or ethnic group, but has declined slightly over time, from 31.3% in 1976 to 27.2% in 2014, according to census data.” – http://www.pewresearch.org/
Here are some ways to reflect on this day:
Think about yourself in place of other people who are different from you.
Become part of or be a supporter of a positive change! Whether it is in politics, activism, or a cause that you believe in.
Open your eyes and ears! Start to take notice of the injustice around the world and think about what you can do to serve others.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census the eight largest Asian American populations in Minnesota are the Hmong, Asian Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Laotian, and Cambodian community. Specifically, 27 percent of the total population identify themselves as Hmong, 15.5 percent are Asian Indian, 11.7 percent are Chinese, 11.1 percent are Vietnamese, 4.9 percent are Laotians, and 3.9 percent are Cambodians (See Figure 2).
Minnesota is home to over 40 different Asian Pacific Minnesotan immigrant and refugee communities. Each community has its own strengths and challenges that may be unique to that ethnic community. The following is an overview of how the Laotian community is faring in Minnesota.
Following a similar path as other AAPI refugees displaced by the Vietnam War, the Laotian community arrived in Minnesota in the late 1970s and 1980s to rebuild their lives.[i] Approximately 12,000 Laotians live in mostly urban counties in the Twin Cities and earn a median income of $40,000, which is the lowest income range among all eight AAPI ethnic communities. Laotian Americans have high unemployment rates at 12.7 percent. Over 40 percent of the Laotian population earned less than a high school diploma.i APA ComMNet REACH CORE project staff and volunteers met with Laotian American community members and leaders throughout the Twin Cities to understand the community’s strengths, challenges and other social and environmental factors affecting its overall health and wellbeing.
Laotian American Community Strengths
Laotian Americans who participated in this project stated that their strong family and community connections are important in improving the health and wellbeing of their community. Family members rely on each other for support and often visit with one another to talk about issues affecting their family or community. Sunny Chanthanouvong, Executive Director of the Lao Assistance Center, stated in his key informant interview that health information is usually spread using family and community network. Knowledge about diseases and preventive health practices are often communicated through storytelling and discussions during small get-togethers or at large community events. “We talk about sickness and health, we talk about the need for people to get exercise and eat healthy,” said Sunny Chanthanouvong who added that good as well as bad experiences of community members when dealing with health issues are often shared with one another.
Laotian American Community Challenges
Laotian Americans indicated that many in their community live in distressed neighborhoods and physical exercise as well as healthy eating habits may sometimes be difficult for members of the community. Due to their relatively recent introduction to the American health care system, some Laotian Americans may not be familiar with preventive practices to deter diseases or how certain disease can spread through different channels. Sunny Chanthanouvong explained how his organization attempts to educate Laotian Americans on flu prevention.
“It’s very important to help the community to truly understand the concept – where it’s coming from. People say that you have to save money for retirement, but what does that really mean? When there’s flu going around, they tell us, wash your hands to keep flu away but they still shake hands with someone who is sick. There is something behind just washing the hands, you have to tell the purpose for it, it’s not going to help much…we need deeper education.”
– Sunny Chanthanouvong, Executive Director of the Lao Assistance Center on educating the Lao American community about infectious diseases
In addition, APA ComMNet Health survey results show that the Laotian American community exhibited high tobacco use with nearly 30 percent of Laotian Americans stating that they frequently smoked cigarettes (Figure 3). Anecdotally, Laotian Americans also indicated that alcohol use was prevalent in the community especially during family and community celebrations despite the lack of evidence from this study affirming this notion. Laotian Americans added that smoking and drinking are common practices in Laos and young Laotian Americans who were raised in the U.S. often see their parents drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes leading many Laotian American youth to believe that such behaviors are normal and adopt their parents’ addictive habits as their own.
[i] Minnesota Historical Society, 2013. “Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees.” St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved January 8, 2013 (http://education.mnhs.org/immigration/)