San Antonio is in the state of Texas. It occupies an area of 7.07miles of land area and 0.13miles of water area. The total population of the area is 45,307 which is a reduction of 4.39% of the 2000 statistics. This is much lower than the national average of 9.71% and the 20.59% of the state average. The population density of the area zip code 78201 is 6,291.37 people per square mile which is much higher compared to 93.62 people per square mile of the state average (USA.com, 2013). This is also higher than 81.32 people per square mile of the national average. The per capita income of 78201 zip codes is $13,398 which is much lower than $19,617 of the state average. Children below the age of five are the majority constituting 7.2% of the total population. The average lifetime of people in this area is 35.6 years. The females are the majority representing 50.3% of the total population. The male population is 49.7% of the total population. The average life of females is 37.3 years compared with that of males which is 33.9%. The whites 76.3% represents majority of the population. African Americans are 2.2% while the other races represent 16.8% of the total population.
Obesity in San Antonio
The childhood obesity in America is a national health crisis. This life threatening disease calls for immediate action because the consequences are dire. In the United States, Obesity is projected to cause about 112,000 deaths per year (Guerra, 2009). It’s also expected that one third of children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime. This may mean that the current generation may lead a shorter lifespan than even their parents. The prevalence of obesity has tripled (from 5% to 17%) between 1980 to 2008 among the children and adolescents. Obesity was found to be more common among non-Hispanic black teenagers (29%) than Hispanic black teenagers (17.5%) or non Hispanic white teenagers (14.5%) . This disease disrupts the ability of the school children to perform their tasks effectively. In San Antonio, obesity is a major disease to both children and parents alike. Much has been done and more is still being done to help fight this disease especially in children.
Obesity is a condition in which excess body fats have accumulated to the extent that it may have adverse impacts on human health leading to increased health problems and reduced life expectancy. It’s a condition where the Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 30.
Causes of obesity
Consumption of a lot of calories predisposes the body to obesity (Medilexicon, 2013). Over the years, there is an increasing trend in calories consumption. By 1996, U.S. had the highest calories consumption of 3,654 per person and by 2003; it had increased to 3,754 calories per person. The problem of overeating and poor dietary choices has become a challenge to medics. Consumption of sweetened drinks is also believed to have contributed largely to obesity increase. Since there is an increase in fast food consumption, there are more chances that obesity will be on the increase than ever before. Processes foods have become a cheap source of meals than fruits and vegetables and this has also contributed to an increase in obesity.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle
With reduced physical movements, majority of people are leading sedentary lifestyles. Most of the present day children are confined within one place with very little movement. Unlike the past generations who used to travel far and wide on foot, most of the current day generations travel in vehicles, planes trains and other convenient means of transport. They watch Television and play games at the convenient of their rooms. They involve themselves in less physical activities due to remote controls, washing machines and dish washers among others. The less the physical movements, the fewer calories burnt.
Lack of enough sleep
The risk of becoming obese doubles with lack of enough sleep. This is both applicable to adults and children. This is the findings of Professor Francesco of Warwick Medical School. He concludes that sleep deprivation leads to increased appetite which leads to increased food intake.
Obesity is also believed by medical experts to result from genetics. Studies have shown that 80% of offspring of two obese parents were obese in comparison to 10% obesity cases from parents without obesity. These are just but some of the causes of obesity particularly in children.
In San Antonio, 65.7% of adults are obese and 32.7% of children aged between 10-17years are obese or overweight. (CDC, 2013). An obese 4year old has 20% chance of becoming an obese when adult while obese teenager has up to 80% of becoming obese when adult. In San Antonio, it was found that diabetes was the leading cause among Hispanics males aged between 45-64 (Guerra, 2009). Correlations were found to exist between poverty, performance and obesity among school going children. These are several initiatives which have been taken to reduce obesity in San Antonio. Through the Metro Health Obesity Prevention Initiatives, a number of projects were initiated. Some of them are discuses below.
Healthy Kids Healthy Community Grant
It was funded by Robert Wood Jonson Foundation to address childhood obesity. It’s an initiative working with residents in Westside San Antonio (HKHC, 2013). In this area, 30% of the students were found to be obese (MertroHealth, 2013).
The key activities of include (HKHC, 2013).
- Expanding shared use of schools and other public facilities to enable children to be active.
- Work with restaurants and corner stores to offer nutritious and well balanced diet in appropriate sizes.
- Ensuring that new development and redevelopment projects are walkable and bikeable.
Community Based Obesity Prevention Initiative
Funded by DSHS to promote health and wellness programs in workplaces (MertroHealth, 2013) they initiated a lot of projects to help educate the children on the causes and effects of obesity.
Communities putting prevention to work (CPPW)
This was a two year project funded by CDC and partners. Their goals include;
- Implementation of evidence based policy, environmental and system changes to improve nutrition and physical activity.
- Address the whole community with special emphasis on segments with higher rates of obesity.
- Robust assessment built into track progress and effectiveness.
The physical activities included bicycle riding, outdoor exercise equipment, neighborhood activity groups, P.E equipment’s in school among others. Healthy food initiatives included !por vida healthy restaurant menu, corner store initiative, salad bars in schools, farmers market among others. Under the improved built environment, biometric machines were installed in the libraries; walkways were improved, and walk trails among others. The social media campaign involved implementing locally relevant and cultural appropriate social marketing campaign and formative speech (CDC, 2013).
In conclusion, the rate of obesity has been on the rise especially in San Antonio. More effort is needed to help fight this disease. This is because the disease has a negative effect on the health of children and adults. It also has got a negative effect on the economy since its estimated that the government spends about $14Billion fighting this disease annually in U.S.A. research also shows that obese children are four times likely to miss school than non obese counterparts. Children are the most affected with obesity since they still lack knowledge on how to handle this uncertain disease. The biggest irony is that even the adults are fighting with the same disease. The way forward is that people should join hands from all sectors both public and private to help fight this disease.