What’s more, obesity rates reflect racial and ethnic disparities: The adult obesity rate in Missouri was 28.4 percent for whites compared to 38.4 percent for blacks and 34 percent for Hispanics.
The nation’s largest public health philanthropy, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has committed $500 million to reversing the obesity epidemic by 2015, and Columbia is one of 50 U.S. communities participating.
The "F is for Fat" report defines obesity as exceeding a body mass index of 30. Use the calculator below to determine your BMI.
Locally, the Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities grant, financed with $400,000 from the foundation, is unfolding under the umbrella group Unite 4 Healthy Neighborhoods, according to a previous Missourian article.
The initiative’s goals include:
- Mapping the city’s “food deserts” and finding ways to make local produce and other healthy foods more accessible and affordable.
- Planting fruit trees and establishing community gardens on public lands.
- Improving public transportation to help people without cars access healthier foods and encourage people to bike and walk to bus stops.
- Creating youth groups designed to help teenagers advocate health-related policy changes in the community.
- Establishing a public council to provide a venue for food-related policy discussions.
- Revitalizing dormant neighborhood associations and creating new ones to help people advocate policy changes and raise awareness of health-related resources available in their neighborhoods. Also, mobilizing youth groups to advocate health-related policy changes in the community.
In this package of articles, Missourian reporter Maggie Menderski explains the unfolding initiative to end childhood obesity and introduces residents who are facing challenges to a healthy lifestyle as well others who are showing the way. Use the links above or at left to navigate to other stories in this report.