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U.S. obesity has reached an all-time high, with overall adult obesity rates surpassing 40% and childhood obesity rates surpassing 20%, according to new CDC data.
The news is especially bad for Latinos.
Latino adults were more obese (47%) than their black (46.8%), white (37.9%), and Asian (12.7%) peers.
Latino children also were more obese (25.8%) than their black (22%), white (14.1%), and Asian (11%) peers.
It means 1 in 4 Latino are now obese, regardless of age, according to the new data.
“We know the basics of supply and demand help people eat healthier and move more,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association, in a statement. “It will take a massive push from the food and beverage industry to increase the supply of affordable, healthy, nutritious foods and fewer sugary drinks. And it takes a tremendous effort on the part of consumers to demand healthier products and policies in their communities.
“We all have to do our part.”
About the Data
The new data comes from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
NHANES is a national data survey with interviews and physical examinations to measure rates of disease.
Other recent reports, such as data from the 2016 National Children’s Health Survey, had suggested that, although public health efforts have slowed the rate of increasing obesity in recent years, the proportion of the US population that are obese continues to slowly rise.
This new record high rate of obesity demonstrates the need for redoubling efforts to prevent and reduce obesity, especially among racial/ethnic groups such as Latinos, according to the American Heart Association.
“The disparities in obesity rates among blacks and Hispanics, both young and old, are shocking—we can and must do better,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO, in a statement. “Our nation will continue to be in the midst of this public health crisis until we drive transformative change in every community. We have the tools. We just need to employ them.”
What Can Be Done for Latinos?
Salud America! is driving people to make healthy community changes for Latino and all people.
Every day we curate the latest national policy changes and resources to help people make changes, and tools like our Action Packs and Salud Report Card.
We lift up stories and videos of Salud Heroes—Latinos who are making changes in their schools and communities across the naion—to motivate and empower others to follow their footsteps in their towns.
Like the heartening story of Alma Galvez.
Galvez was sick of seeing a growing number of overweight Latino child patients at her clinic in Minneapolis, Minn. (10.5% Latino population). In her job as a community health worker for St. Mary’s Health Clinics in Minnesota, Galvez was able to pinpoint a big culprit—sugary drinks.
Galvez and Shannon Gavin, St. Mary’s coordinator of family health programs, wanted to reduce sugary drink consumption among Latino child patient and families.
So they jumped head-first at the chance to work with state health officials to create a bilingual, culturally relevant campaign to urge Latino families to rethink their drink.
“People don’t want you to tell them to stop drinking soda,” Galvez said. “But when you show them how much sugar is in their 20-ounce bottled soda they get really impressed by how much sugar is in their soda, and they always want to know how to stop, because sometimes it is not easy for them to stop.”
“Across the board people are getting the message.”
Explore More:Healthy Families & Schools
By The Numbers
Expected rise in Latino cancer cases in coming years