qq-2 - Dece mber 26, 2000 Rampant Obesity, a Debilitating...

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Dece mber 26, 2000 Rampant Obesity, a Debilitating Reality for the Urban Poor By DAVID BARBOZA Clara Holloway's boys do not go to school anymore. Instead, they often sit at home, eating and watching television in a darkened apartment here on the South Side. They are not in school because of health problems, and because their mother does not want them on the streets of a neighborhood that local church leaders are still trying to take back from the gangs and drug dealers. So on a typical Monday morning, Jeffrey, 15, can be found in the living room, slumped in a big easy chair, watching the Cartoon Network while Robert, 17, is sprawled across his bed, drifting in and out of sleep. The boys are also coping with obesity, which is spreading all over the country, but particularly, some say, among the blacks and Hispanics who are part of America's urban poor. Nutritionists say part of the problem is a lack of knowledge of nutrition and little access to stores with healthier foods. ''There's no question that study after study shows that minorities have poorer diets from a nutritional point of view,'' said Dr. P. Peter Basiotis, an economist and the director of nutrition policy and analysis at the federal Department of Agriculture. Many, he added, are also ''less physically active,'' creating more problems. Obesity is a growing problem among all groups in the United States. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 percent of blacks and about 21 percent of Hispanics of all ages are considered obese, or about 30 percent overweight, compared with just 17 percent for whites. That means that 26 million blacks and Hispanics in the country are obese, and as a result, at risk for serious health problems. And lower income minorities are at even greater risk, according to federal statistics. The Holloway boys, who are black, are part of that equation. As a result of a pattern of eating high-calorie foods while getting little or no exercise, Robert and Jeffrey weigh 415 pounds and 280 pounds, respectively, far above the optimal weight for their 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-8 frames. Robert is diabetic and spent several months in the hospital before dropping out of high school last year.
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Jeffrey's situation is even more precarious. He has asthma and sleep apnea, a disease that causes people to stop breathing temporarily during sleep, and doctors believe his weight is a factor in a recent spate of unpredictable, and still unexplained, fainting spells. ''He's been in and out of the emergency room, and they'd check him and say they'd never seen anything like it,'' said Mrs. Holloway, a 48-year-old widow, adding that she had to take five months off work to care for him. ''When he sleeps, the windpipe closes up. They said maybe his weight had something to do with it. Now I'm afraid to send him out by himself.'' She fears he may faint on his way to school. Medical experts say Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea are widely believed to be linked to
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2011 for the course HLTH 310 taught by Professor Staff during the Winter '08 term at BYU.

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qq-2 - Dece mber 26, 2000 Rampant Obesity, a Debilitating...

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