I selected pediatric obesity/overweight in Philadelphia, PA as the major problem for the discussion because the issue is associated with preventable morbidity and mortality affecting local communities. The national statistics demonstrate that the prevalence of obesity/overweight in the U.S. is 18.5% or 13.7 million individuals aged 2-19 years, with the largest percentage among teenagers aged 12-19 years (CDC, 2021). Based on the information from The State of Childhood Obesity (2021) project, PA ranks 26th in the U.S. childhood obesity rate with a moderate result of 14.5%, but race-specific obesity in the state is still high. According to the website of the CDC (2021), pediatric obesity/overweight is prevalent in Pennsylvanian youth representing non-Asian ethnic minorities, Black (25.8%) and Hispanic (22%). Therefore, the statistics reflect that diverse communities in large cities, such as Philadelphia, are at risk of youth obesity/overweight issues.
I searched for the relevant data on Philadelphia’s issue of youth obesity in scholarly journals and discovered several articles that explain the causes and offer possible solutions to the problem. Schroeder et al. (2021) maintain that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and associated trauma contribute to poor eating habits and abnormal weight, but the effects usually take 2 to 5 years to manifest. Kumanyika (2017) emphasizes the role of microenvironments and macroenvironments on nutrition and notes that current public and private policies should be modified or replaced to change physical activity levels and diets of children and teenagers. On the one hand, microenvironments, or behavioral settings, represent physical (food stores locations), economic (vendor pricing policies), sociocultural (role models), and political (school food policies) factors. On the other hand, macroenvironments, or societal sectors, influence food manufacturing, pricing, consumer trends, and national nutrition policies. Thus, community health advocates should consider both micro- and macroenvironmental factors, as they influence and predict pediatric obesity/overweight.
CDC. (2021). Prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States. CDC. Web.
Kumanyika, S. (2017). Getting to equity in obesity prevention: A new framework. NAM Perspectives. Web.
Schroeder, K., Schuler, B. R., Kobulsky, J. M., & Sarwer, D. B. (2021). The association between adverse childhood experiences and childhood obesity: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews. Web.
The State of Childhood Obesity. (2021). Pennsylvania. The State of Childhood Obesity. Web.