Obesity Problems Among African Americans

African Americans are the second largest minority group in the United States. In 2019, the cohort of non-Hispanic blacks reached 12.8% of the country’s total population (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2021). The majority of these people live in southern states with the largest African American population in such cities as Texas, Florida, and New York. As of 2019, the median household income of this group is almost twice lower than that of non-Hispanic whites and is approximately $43,000 (HHS, 2021). Life expectancy for this population is 77 years, while it is 80.6 years for non-Hispanic whites. The primary causes of death include cardiovascular disorders, cancer, asthma, influenza, and diabetes, among others.

Obesity is one of the considerable health concerns affecting the target population. Obesity specifically prevails among African American females, and it has been estimated that approximately four in five African American women are obese or overweight (HHS, 2021). It has been acknowledged that about 20% of African American females are less likely to be physically active as compared to non-Hispanic white women (HHS, 2021). Obesity is a serious health issue as it is associated with the development of high blood pressure, diabetes, and is a risk factor for stroke or heart failure.

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Diverse studies on obesity among African Americans have been implemented. Loncar et al. (2021), for instance, explored the effects of the parenting style on their adolescent children’s weight-related outcomes. The assessment of parenting styles and eating and lifestyle habits among African Americans has been examined. The community-based study suggests that restrictive practices have a negative impact on teenagers’ body weight status, while improved responsibility as to diet and physical activity leads to positive results. Black et al. (2021) report that the intervention aimed at reducing obesity among African American toddlers had moderate positive outcomes. The participants improved their lifestyle and dietary patterns, but these changes had little effect on their weight.

It is possible to implement a community-based intervention for African Americans diagnosed with obesity. The intervention will involve educational sessions for parent-child dyads aimed at raising the participants’ awareness of the most effective diet and lifestyle strategies, as well as available resources for adhering to these guidelines. The second component (unveiling opportunities) is essential as African American parents tend to concentrate on the lack of equity and obstacles (Koschmann et al., 2021). Hence, the target population should be aware of available resources and ways to change their lifestyles and become more responsible.

The implementation of this intervention should be followed by an assessment of its outcomes. This evaluation can be associated with the analysis of quantitative (obesity rate among the participants and in the community) and qualitative data (satisfaction with the program, adherence to the provided guidelines). The findings should be reported to the associated healthcare facility and the larger community. It is also beneficial to publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal or professional magazine. Nurses can play a key role in the process of program implementation and information dissemination. These healthcare professionals are in close contact with the community, so they can help African Americans to learn about the program and take part in it.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that African Americans (especially females) are vulnerable to the development of obesity. Numerous programs and interventions have been conducted, and the factors influencing their effectiveness are associated with their level of cultural awareness. Nurse professionals should play the central role in implementing these programs as these practitioners are often trusted and respected in the community due to the lasting and close contact. Nurses will help this vulnerable population to address their health issues through the provision of educational services and clear guidelines related to proper lifestyles.

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References

Black, M. M., Hager, E. R., Wang, Y., Hurley, K. M., Latta, L. W., Candelaria, M., & Caulfield, L. E. (2021). Toddler obesity prevention: A two‐generation randomized attention‐controlled trial. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 17(1), 1-16. Web.

Koschmann, K. S., Peden-McAlpine, C. J., Chesney, M., Mason, S. M., & Hooke, M. C. (2021). Urban, low-income, African American parents’ experiences and expectations of well-child care. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 60, 24-30. Web.

Loncar, H., Wilson, D. K., Sweeney, A. M., Quattlebaum, M., & Zarrett, N. (2021). Associations of parenting factors and weight related outcomes in African American adolescents with overweight and obesity. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Epub ahead of print. Web.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021). Obesity and African Americans. Web.

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