(Press-News.org) BOSTON - The higher rates of obesity in Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) compared with other groups in the United States can be attributed in large part to systemic racism, according to a new perspective article published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. The authors offer a 10-point strategy to study and solve the public health issues responsible for this disparity.
"First, it is important to recognize that the interplay of obesity and racism is real. Once persons recognize this, they can begin to appropriately address and treat obesity in BIPOC communities," says co-author Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, an obesity medicine physician-scientist, educator, and policy maker at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
"In writing this article, we wanted to bring attention to the systemic racism in the obesity epidemic and the direct harms to people of color from bearing a serious disease that is socially caused," adds co-author Daniel Aaron, JD, MD, an attorney at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,* Harvard Law School fellow, and member of The Justice Initiative, a collaboration between Harvard Law School and Howard University School of Law aimed at furthering racial justice.
Stanford and Aaron note that BIPOC suffer chronic stress from experiencing racism in their environments, which can increase the severity of obesity. Also, BIPOC who want help losing weight have a harder time accessing health care, and when they do, they face real and perceived systemic racism within medicine. Furthermore, marginalized BIPOC are more likely to live in areas with an abundance of stores that sell unhealthy food and a lack of stores offering affordable, nutritious options. Even with access to supermarkets, processed food is usually cheaper than fruits or vegetables, and processed food companies engage in disproportionate marketing towards BIPOC.
"Too many people are unaware of how racist structures, institutions and people may be contributing to the direct harm of BIPOC, leading to obesity," says Aaron. "Society has failed to provide essential public health services and comprehensive and equitable medical care to Americans who are not white. Nor have we held accountable the institutions that profit from obesity among BIPOC and propagate systemic racism. Many voices have raised alarms for years, yet they have often gone unheard."
The perspective article stresses that addressing obesity's disproportionate harm to BIPOC will involve changes to public health organizations, medical and research institutions, governments and corporations. "Rather than push for educational campaigns and attempts to 'enlighten' minorities, we should instead look to increased liability and scrutiny of those who aggressively market unhealthy food to BIPOC and concentrate their establishments in BIPOC communities. And we must aim to provide BIPOC access to the same rights: to money, healthy food, medical care, housing, education and freedom from discrimination," says Aaron.
Aaron and Stanford aim to stir more thoughtful and transformative policy approaches that place the onus on powerful parties that benefit from existing arrangements and on people and institutions that are hesitant to change--not on the victims of systemic racism. They offer a 10-point strategy towards this goal.
"The implications could have far-reaching effects on well-being, as obesity is associated with more than 200 chronic diseases, many of which disproportionately affect BIPOC, and it's a risk factor for contracting and dying from COVID-19," says Stanford. "The immense costs--to lives, health, and wealth--of not preventing and treating obesity are exacerbated for BIPOC, and we urgently need to study and solve the core issues at the intersection of obesity and systemic racism."
About the Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Mass General Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with annual research operations of more than $1 billion and comprises more than 9,500 researchers working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. In August 2020, Mass General was named #6 in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Hospitals."
* The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Health and Human Services/Food and Drug Administration.
Women who experienced hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDPs) but did not develop chronic hypertension have a greater risk of premature mortality, specifically cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related deaths, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). A separate JACC study examined the cardiovascular health risks associated with pregnancy in obese women with heart disease.
HDPs, which occur in approximately 10% of all pregnancies worldwide, are among the most common health issues during pregnancy. There are four types of HDPs: chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension (GHTN), preeclampsia and ...
Other senses re-routed during evolution, but not sense of smell
Loss of smell linked to depression and poor quality of life
Smell research can help treatments for loss in COVID-19
CHICAGO ---Odors evoke powerful memories, an experience enshrined in literature by Marcel Proust and his beloved madeleine.
A new Northwestern Medicine paper is the first to identify a neural basis for how the brain enables odors to so powerfully elicit those memories. The paper shows unique connectivity between the hippocampus--the seat of memory in the brain--and olfactory areas in humans.
This new research suggests a neurobiological basis for privileged access by olfaction to memory areas in the brain. The study compares connections between primary sensory areas--including ...
Researchers have developed a spectroscopic microscope to enable optical measurements of molecular conformations and orientations in biological samples. The novel measurement technique allows researchers to image biological samples at the microscopic level more quickly and accurately.
The new instrument is based on the discrete frequency infrared spectroscopic imaging technique developed by researchers at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
"This project is about bringing the study ...
DALLAS - March 8, 2021 - A study led by UT Southwestern and Children's Health researchers defines parameters for the number of white blood cells that must be present in children's urine at different concentrations to suggest a urinary tract infection (UTI). The findings, published recently in Pediatrics, could help speed treatment of this common condition and prevent potentially lifelong complications.
UTIs account for up to 7 percent of fevers in children up to 24 months old and are a common driver of hospital emergency room visits. However, says study leader Shahid Nadeem, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at UTSW as well as an emergency department physician and pediatric nephrologist at Children's Medical Center Dallas, these bacterial infections ...
Boston, MA - Financial pollution arises when exorbitant or unnecessary healthcare spending depletes resources needed for the wellbeing of the population. This is the subject of a JAMA Health Forum Insight co-authored by researchers in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School. The Insight was published in the March 8, 2021 issue of JAMA Health Forum.
The authors lay out the rationale for "financial pollution" as a metaphor to express the urgency of addressing wasteful health care spending and to guide innovative policymaking. Akin to environmental pollution, financial ...
When a coastline undergoes massive erosion, like a hurricane flattening a beach and its nearby environments, it has to rebuild itself - relying on the resilience of its natural coastal structures to begin piecing itself back together in a way that will allow it to survive the next large phenomena that comes its way.
Drs. Orencio Duran Vinent, assistant professor, and Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, Distinguished University Professor and Wofford Cain Chair I Professor, in the Department of Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University, are investigating the resilience of barrier ...
You're going at the speed limit down a two-lane road when a car barrels out of a driveway on your right. You slam on the brakes, and within a fraction of a second of the impact an airbag inflates, saving you from serious injury or even death.
The airbag deploys thanks to an accelerometer -- a sensor that detects sudden changes in velocity. Accelerometers keep rockets and airplanes on the correct flight path, provide navigation for self-driving cars, and rotate images so that they stay right-side up on cellphones and tablets, among other essential tasks.
Addressing the increasing ...
Forecasting changes in stock prices may be possible with the help of brain activity in regions associated with how people feel before making investment choices. Scientists could accurately forecast market price changes based on the average brain activity among a group but failed when using only prior stock trends or people's investment choices, according to new research published in JNeurosci.
Scientists have used the average brain activity among a group to predict which videos will go viral and which crowdfunding campaigns will receive funding. In a new study, Stallen et al. investigated if this relationship extends to a more ...
Irvine, CA - March 8, 2021 - A new study from the University of California, Irvine shows that compounds in both green and black tea relax blood vessels by activating ion channel proteins in the blood vessel wall. The discovery helps explain the antihypertensive properties of tea and could lead to the design of new blood pressure-lowering medications.
Published in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry, the discovery was made by the laboratory of Geoffrey Abbott, PhD, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the UCI School of Medicine. Kaitlyn Redford, a graduate student in the Abbott Lab, was first author of the study titled, "KCNQ5 potassium channel activation underlies vasodilation by tea."
Results from the research revealed that two catechin-type ...
HOUSTON - (March 8, 2021) - Health care teams must prepare for anything, including the unconventional work environments brought about by a global pandemic and social unrest.
Multiracial medical team having a discussion as they stand grouped together around a tablet computer on a stair well, overhead view
Open communication and trust are essential for successful teamwork in challenging health care situations, as detailed in "Building effective healthcare team development interventions in uncertain times: Tips for success." The paper was authored by researchers at Rice University, the University of Texas MD Anderson ...