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Obesity plays a significant role in health and healthcare, with studies showing that obesity increases a person’s chances of chronic disease, including high blood
pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Studies have also shown that African American men and women have the highest rates of obesity among U.S. racial/ethnic groups.

When taking a holistic view of health equity, though, it is important to look at the root causes of an issue, as well as the fruits that are produced. For example, African Americans often have less access to healthy food than their counterparts in other racial/ethnic groups. In particular, neighborhoods that are considered “food deserts,” or areas with little to no healthy food options, are disproportionately likely to have large African American and Hispanic populations.

From a health equity standpoint, therefore, addressing obesity and its health risks requires that we also address issues like food access by providing Black and Hispanic communities with affordable, accessible, and healthy food options. Because advancing health equity is not just a matter of treating the “sickness,” but also treating the underlying factors that produced it.


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