UH Meeting, Health Fair To Focus On Fighting Childhood Obesity Among Houston's Minorities

The problem of childhood obesity in Houston is the focus of a community meeting and health fair this evening. People can learn the latest research into why more kids than ever are overweight and share their ideas on how to tackle it. As David Pitman reports, one goal is to change behaviors and attitudes toward food and exercise among the area's two largest minority groups.

In Houston, about 25 percent of Hispanic and African-American children are either overweight or obese.  That's about 10 percent higher than the rest of the population.  Dr. Rebecca Lee is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston.  She's also the director of the Texas Obesity Research Center.  She says a number of cultural and economic factors contribute to higher obesity rates among minorities.

"African-American and Hispanic populations tend to be over-represented in our lower socio-economic status neighborhoods, where there may be fewer supermarkets to get good-priced, attractive, and delicious fruits and vegetables."

At tonight's meeting, researchers will present the results of surveys on specific community concerns regarding childhood obesity.  Dr. Lee says that information will be used to develop a long-term sustainable strategy to raise healthier children.

"We are also hoping that, tonight, because we're having a health fair, along with our symposium, that many people will gain a better understanding of their own personal health.   Taking their measure(ments), understanding a little more about what their weight, and blood pressure, and lipids and other kinds of issues mean."

The symposium and health fair will begin at 5:30 this evening in the Rockwell Pavilion, second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library on the UH campus.

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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

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