obesity-its-not-just-genetics-time - It's Not Just Genetics...

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5/25/10 12:55 PM It's Not Just Genetics -- Printout -- TIME Page 1 of 8 http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1813984,00.html Back to Article Click to Print Thursday, Jun. 12, 2008 It's Not Just Genetics By Bryan Walsh Safety Community Environment Education Race Income Diet Neighborhood Poverty You're a native-American baby born into the Oglala Sioux tribe, living on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. There are a lot of things that are going to make life a challenge for you, but one of the most perilous will be your weight. Chances are very good that your parents already have a weight problem; obesity is rampant in the 30,000-member community, and half the residents over the age of 40 have Type 2 diabetes. Their genes--and yours, of course--are part of the problem: researchers theorize that Native Americans have a higher than average tendency to gain and store weight, a protection in times of famines past but a risk factor in an America of caloric abundance. Even without this so-called thrifty gene, you'd face an uphill battle to stay trim. Like many Americans in rural areas, the poorer Oglala Sioux have far less access to fresh fruits and vegetables than those in more connected settlements. This means you're likely to be filling up on high-calorie, processed foods, especially since fatty foods are cheaper than healthy ones, and your family--like more than half the families on the reservation--is probably poor. What's more, the calories you consume stick around, since you're not doing much to burn them off. Your school is probably too far away for you to reach it on foot. Playmates may be similarly distant. And don't even think about parks or playgrounds--multiple studies over the past several years have shown that low-income communities tend to have fewer recreational areas. Though it's all outside your control, nearly every aspect of your environment is pushing you toward gaining weight--which is why 43% of Native-American 5-year- olds in South Dakota are overweight or obese. You're a Caucasian baby born in Boulder, Colo., and it's hard to count all your advantages in the good-health game. Chances are better than average that your parents are a healthy weight--only
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5/25/10 12:55 PM It's Not Just Genetics -- Printout -- TIME Page 2 of 8 http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1813984,00.html 11.9% of Boulder County residents are obese, compared with more than 30% for the U.S. as a whole. Colorado has the second lowest childhood overweight rate in the U.S., according to one survey. You live in a town blessed with parks and rugged natural beauty, where physical activity is all but mandatory and 14 triathlons were held last year--including one for kids as young as 3. But Boulder, with a population of more than 90,000 people, is large and dense; if you live in town, you can probably walk or bike to school. Chances are your family is at least middle class--the median income in Boulder County is significantly higher than the U.S. average. That means your parents can afford
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This note was uploaded on 09/28/2010 for the course IPHY 3420 at Colorado.

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obesity-its-not-just-genetics-time - It's Not Just Genetics...

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