Diabetes and Obesity in the Bronx

671 words | 3 page(s)

Obesity and the development of Type II diabetes are clearly co-morbidities. However, it is important to recognize that these conditions are actually multi-factorial in their development. Poor nutritional habits, lack of exercise, poverty and inner-city lower socioeconomic neighborhoods are all risk factors for the development of these conditions. This can clearly be seen in the community of The Bronx, New York. The Bronx is an area that is plagued with poverty, obesity, diabetes and a host of other medical and social conditions. As a result, it is crucial to establish public health programs aimed at reducing the burden of disease within this community.

The burden of poverty and disease in The Bronx is staggering. This is particularly true for the South Bronx, the poorest Congressional district within the United States. The community is well-known for its significant health disparities, including obesity and diabetes. Several risk factors have been identified in these health disparities. Individuals within the community have an eighty-five percent greater risk of being obese than those who live in Manhattan, New York. One significant issue associated with this obesity issue is the lack of available food markets within many of the communities. As a result of this, individuals are often forced to eat unhealthy, but available, food (Dolnick, 2010).

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In order to help end obesity and diabetes within this community, it is proposed that more is done to help end the “food desert” situation within the area. A food desert is “defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food” (United States Department of Agriculture, [USDA] n.d.). The South Bronx does classify as a food desert. It is crucial that individuals within this community have access to healthier food. The USDA offers grants to help end food deserts. It is proposed that a grant be obtained with this in mind. A “mobile” market in a van can access a greater area than a standing market. This would be similar to the “ice cream trucks” that bring unhealthy food to the neighborhood. Instead, the “mobile market” can offer the community fresh fruits and vegetables.

It is also proposed that additional educational classes be offered to the community. These classes should focus on the dangers of obesity. This would include diabetes, stroke, hypertension and heart disease. Furthermore, classes should be offered to assist those with diabetes in properly managing their conditions. The focus should be on a healthy diet and exercise program. The program should also teach the participants how to monitor their blood sugar. Since the class will offer advice on diabetes’ management, it is crucial that the program be taught by both a registered nurse (RN) and a registered dietician (RD). The classes may involve assisting individuals in finding medical care. Obviously, the program needs to assist the citizens in improving their health; without medical care, this is not likely. The needs of the citizens may help determine the necessary programs.

It is also recommended that classes be offered on the importance of exercise. Since many in poverty-stricken communities do not feel safe exercising outside, it is important to address this. Individuals can be taught the importance of walking in standing position within their apartments. They should be encouraged to walk in place for five minutes of every hour. This is a practical solution to individuals who do not feel safe exercising in their communities. It also is a doable goal for most individuals. A grant may also be found to pay for pedometers. Individuals should be taught the importance of 10,000 steps a day in preventing heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. It is important to remind individuals that every step is a step closer to the goal. For those who are not active, they should be encouraged to work up to 10,000 steps a day.

  • Dolnick, S. (2010, March 12). The obesity-hunger paradox. The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from: http://www.nytimes.com
  • United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Food deserts. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from: http://apps.ams.usda.gov/fooddeserts/foodDeserts.aspx

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