One in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, putting them at risk of both long-term health consequences and immediate health risks, including pre-diabetes; low self-esteem; bone and joint problems; sleep apnea; and social problems.
While obesity occurs across the entire population, low-income families are more likely to suffer from weight-related health problems due to the increased risk factors associated with poverty.
Low-income neighborhoods may lack convenient, affordable choices for fresh family-friendly food. When it’s easier and cheaper to pick up a meal at a drive-through than it is to trek out of the neighborhood to a grocery store for cost-prohibitive fruits and vegetables, the choice of what to serve for dinner has been made for you. Additionally, low-income neighborhoods often lack safe spaces for kids to run and play. Low-income families also experience high levels of stress and harmful cycles of food deprivation and overeating. This combination of factors puts low-income children at particular risk for obesity and the health problems associated with it. If we do not act now, our children will carry the health burdens of obesity with them into adulthood.