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Grier and Kumanyika – Targeting Interventions for Ethnic Minority and Low-Income Populations

Grier, Sonya and Kumanyika, Skiriki. “Targeting Interventions for Ethnic Minority and Low-Income Populations.” The Future of Children Vol 16, No. 3 (2006): 187-207.

Keywords: Childhood obesity, low-income, minorities

According to Kumanyika and Grier, the childhood obesity rates are greatly increasing and those rates are even higher for the populations that are low-income and ethnic minorities. From their research they have indentified that not only has the rate for childhood obesity have grown in ethnic minorities, they have indentified that these rates are the highest amongst African-Americans and Mexican-Americans.

In their investigation, they discovered that there is a correlation between childhood obesity amongst childhood obesity and low-income populations and several health related issues. These health related issues included early signs of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and sleep-disordered breathing. The researchers concluded that by preventing obesity in all children will greatly reduce both socio-economic and health disparities.

Kumanyika and Grier understood to effectively address the socio-economic gap and ethnic health disparities that cause childhood obesity one must understand outside factors that may also contribute to the issue of childhood obesity as well. They identified media and marketing, food access and availability, built environments, and school settings to be major factors. The researchers suggest that the mass media and advertisers strategically target low-income and ethnic minorities because they spend the most time watching television. As a result, these populations are more likely to believe using the media is a great source to select products. Next, they identified that compared to more affluent areas, low-income and minority communities have fewer supermarkets that sell fresh and inexpensive produce. However, low-income and minority communities have more fast-food restaurants. Thirdly, because of safety concerns for their children many low-income and minority children are restricted to the amount of physical activity they can partake in outside of the home. As a result, they spend more time eating and watching television. Lastly, the identified that one’s school setting also plays a major factor. Schools that are located in low-income areas may take part in the National School Lunch and Nation School Breakfast Programs. These programs offer free or reduce meals to students that are in need. Majority of these students are minorities from low-income families. These meals however, do not meet nutritional standards

To this date the research on childhood obesity that is focused on minority and low-income populations are very limited. In order to address the issue in this these communities there need to be a bigger push to solve and prevent childhood obesity in all populations. Due to the limited resources of many low-income and minority households childhood obesity is becoming a major problem.

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