The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

3161.0: Monday, November 11, 2002 - Board 8

Abstract #46137

Obesity and the African American Adolescent, The Mississippi Delta Report

Gail D. Hughes, DrPH, MPH1, Gloria Areghan, MSN1, Bern'Nadette Knight, MSPH2, and Abiodun A. Oyebola, MD3. (1) Department of Preventive Medicine-Epidemiology, University of Mississippi Medical Centre, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, (601) 984-1920,, (2) Department of General Internal Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State St., Jackson, MS 39216-4505, (3) Department of Public Health, Jackson State University, Jackson Medical Mall, 350 West Woodrow Wilson Drive, Jackson, MS 39213

The current trends in obesity among African American adolescents in the State of Mississippi especially in the Delta remains alarming and disheartening. According to the Mississippi 1999 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), 1 out of 3 African American adolescent is obese with higher ratios for those living in the Delta. Several factors have been attributed to this observed trend. The Delta is probably the most undeserved region in the state with African Americans being the major ethnic group. Accessibility and availability of medical care is also a problem. It is estimated that over 60% of residents live below the poverty level. Most schools do not have a physical education curriculum. Even more so, nutrition education is not emphasized. Efforts made by public health officials and researchers by the way of intervention have had little success on impacting positively on this issue. The point being raised now is whether these strategies are culturally sensitive and at the same time practicable. Since obesity starts in early childhood extending into the adolescent years and then possibly into adulthood, behavior modification is key to preventing the onset of obesity in this population group altogether. Community development is crucial to the success of any weight control program. The poverty level in this part of the state needs to be addressed in the way of providing jobs for locals and bringing in expatriates. For adolescents living in the Delta, health education on modifiable risk factors is mandatory if any change is to be seen.

Learning Objectives: " At the end of this session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Food Security/Insecurity and Health Issues

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA