Adults and children in wealthy nations and communities frequently struggle with being overweight or obese, most often for reasons they can change or mitigate, such as living a sedentary lifestyle or being too busy to cook or eat healthy meals. However, child obesity in low-income nations and neighborhoods is caused by factors over which parents typically have less control, including lack of access to vehicles and high-quality groceries.
Child obesity statistics are alarming even in the US: in 2018, over 14 million children and adolescents were obese. Those in low to middle-income groups were twice as likely to be obese as those in affluent groups.
Child Obesity Causes: Factors that Lead to Poor Nutrition
Imagine that you’re a single working parent with two or more children to feed. You might live in a neighborhood with affordable housing close to bus routes; you might receive adequate child support or be eligible for a food assistance program. Yet your children may be obese, not because they need more food, but because their diet is low in nutrition.
If you don’t own a vehicle, it’s difficult to carry more than a few bags of groceries on public transit or keep perishables cold. Produce is particularly heavy, and you don’t have time to prepare raw foods anyway. Consequently, you often reach for inexpensive, heavily-processed boxed meals that weigh less and are quick to make. Even if you want to buy produce, you may not live near a bus line that stops near high-quality grocery stores or farmer’s markets. You’re sometimes too tired or busy to cook at all, so you often have to pick up cheap fast food instead.
The Health Effects of Poor Nutrition on Children
Why is childhood obesity such a big deal? Besides fatigue, skin infections, and even premature puberty, childhood obesity leads to serious health problems including:
hypertension and heart disease
Healthy Diet Resources for Underinvested Communities
It can be difficult to navigate and maintain the logistics of a healthy diet and lifestyle, which is why educational resources on these topics are so valuable, particularly in underserved communities.
BeamUp offers programming to help underinvested youth succeed in every aspect of life. Our goal is to provide opportunities for youth and young adults of lower socioeconomic status to equip them with the necessary tools. By empowering them, they are better equipped to lift themselves out of poverty and violence.
At the core of BeamUp is access to quality education about a healthy lifestyle, professional education, plant-based whole foods, making climate friendly choices, and mindfulness. Donate today!