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In its ongoing effort to single out health disparities between ethnic minorities and Caucasians, the Obama Administration has published a new State Obesity Map that reveals blacks, the poor and uneducated are disproportionately obese compared to their more affluent and educated white counterparts.

The new tool, published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, offers a state-by-state breakdown of obesity rates in the United States. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese, according to the CDC, and blacks have the highest rates (49.5%) of obesity, the agency found. Mexicans are second with an obesity rate of over 40% and “non-Hispanic whites” come in at 34.3%.

Not surprisingly, the government determined that even within some minority communities, those with higher incomes are less likely to be obese than those who make less money. This is referred to as socioeconomic disparity. Likewise, those with college degrees are less likely to be obese compared with the less educated, according to the CDC’s findings.

This is critical for minorities because obesity-related conditions can be deadly and include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. In fact, medical costs associated with obesity are estimated by the CDC to run north of $146 billion in one year alone. That translates into an individual medical bill of $1,429 higher for obese people compared to “those of normal weight,” according to the agency.

That can only mean one thing; poor minorities are victims, at a disadvantage and Uncle Sam must step in and help out. When it comes to healthcare, this has been the Obama Administration’s consistent message. In fact, an Obamacare initiative to “reduce racial and ethnic health disparities” established half a dozen federal Offices of Minority Health as well as one for each state. Their mission is to reduce health disparities between minorities and whites.

The administration has also dedicated more than $100 million help lower chronic diseases—such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease—“disproportionately seen among poor and minority populations.” Part of that effort includes eliminating “food deserts” in urban areas. The term was coined by First Lady Michelle Obama to describe poor areas she claims don’t have access to affordable healthy fare such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk. American taxpayers are also financing the costly transformation of the inner city diet.

Additionally, a new federal task force was created earlier this year to “reduce racial and ethnic asthma disparities.” The president found this government expansion essential because asthma disproportionately affects minority children and kids living below the poverty level. Specifically, the asthma rates of African American and Puerto Rican children are more than double the rate of Caucasian children in the United States, according to the new President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children.

The administration even created, for the first time ever, a new section on socioeconomic status in the CDC’s annual comprehensive report on Americans’ health. Nearly two dozen pages are dedicated to the special socioeconomic status section, which includes charts and graphs comparing the difference in the healthcare received by whites, Hispanics, blacks and Asians. Practically all ailments are mentioned, including asthma, obesity, mental disorders and dental visits with a breakdown of disparities among ethnic minorities and the uneducated and poverty-stricken.

Everything from depression to edentulism (lack of natural teeth), obesity, cigarette smoking and cancer is more prevalent among the poor, according to the government’s assessment. Even childhood attention deficit disorder hits low-income minorities harder and practically every chronic disease known to man strikes them at much greater rates than educated whites. In short, people with higher education and income levels have lower rates of many chronic diseases compared to those with less education and lower income levels, the feds assert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A special treat from the Obama Administration; for the first time, the U.S. government’s annual comprehensive report on Americans’ health features a special and heavily promoted section on socioeconomic status.

This appears to be part of the president’s mission to close the gap in “health disparities” that currently exist between poor minorities and whites. In fact, Obamacare created an initiative to “reduce racial and ethnic health disparities” by, among other things, establishing dozens of new “health equity” offices to “empower people” and “mobilize community partnerships” to end disparities. More than $100 million has already been dedicated to the initiative to help lower chronic diseases “disproportionately seen among poor and minority populations.”

To promote the cause, and the Affordable Care Act’s groundbreaking policies, April was coined National Minority Health Month (because “health equity can’t wait”). This month, the agency that publishes the nation’s annual health report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proudly announced its dedicating a portion to socioeconomic status and health. The report’s bright purple cover promotes the new section in big type right below the main title (Health, United States, 2011). 

Approximately 20 pages are dedicated to the special socioeconomic status section, which features a variety of charts and graphs comparing the difference in the healthcare received by whites, Hispanics, blacks and Asians. Practically all ailments are mentioned, including asthma, obesity, mental disorders and dental visits with a breakdown of disparities among ethnic minorities and the uneducated and poverty-stricken.

Everything from depression to edentulism (lack of natural teeth), obesity, cigarette smoking and cancer is more prevalent among the poor, according to the government’s assessment. Even childhood attention deficit disorder hits low-income minorities harder and practically every chronic disease known to man strikes them at much greater rates than educated whites. In short, people with higher education and income levels have lower rates of many chronic diseases compared to those with less education and lower income levels, the feds assert.

This also applies to childhood obesity, one of Michelle Obama’s obsessions. If you recall, the First Lady got Congress to pass a $4.5 billion law to conquer childhood obesity by convincing lawmakers and the nation that it’s an epidemic, especially among low-income minorities. As a result American taxpayers are funding an overhaul of the inner city diet by providing affordable—and in some cases free—healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, in areas known as “food deserts.”   

As part of that particular effort, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched an internet-based mapping tool last year that identifies so-called “food deserts,” which are low-income areas with “limited access to affordable and nutritious foods.” The tool will help the feds provide fresh produce and grilled lean meats as alternatives to greasy, fried foods that tend to be more popular in those areas.

 

 

In a case of the nanny state gone wild, the government agency charged with protecting health and preventing disease has issued federal, state and local directives to force hospitals across the country to promote breastfeeding. This is a human health crisis, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), because breastfeeding protects against childhood obesity, helps babies grow up healthy and reduces medical costs. The problem is that less than 4% of U.S. hospitals provide the “full range of support” mothers need to successfully breastfeed their baby, according to a report issued by the agency this week. That means they commit the sin of not having a “written, model breastfeeding policy” and most give “healthy breastfeeding infants” formula when it’s not medically necessary.

Additionally, only one-third of hospitals help mothers and babies learn to breastfeed in house and most don’t provide crucial follow-up visits or phone calls when women leave the hospital with their bundle of joy. Connecting mothers with support groups and other resources to help with breastfeeding after they leave the hospital is essential, according to the CDC.

So the agency has devised a crucial plan that includes federal, state and local government intervention as well as the collaboration of healthcare providers at facilities nationwide. The feds are to promote maternity care policies and practices that increase breastfeeding rates, track hospital policies and practices that support mothers to be able to breastfeed and help all federal hospitals implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

State governments will set up statewide maternity care quality standards for hospitals to support breastfeeding and they will help hospitals implement the Ten Steps to Successful Breast feeding beginning with the largest facilities. Doctors and nurses will write hospital policies that help every mother breastfeed and they will learn how to counsel mothers on breastfeeding during prenatal visits. Lactation consultants and other breastfeeding experts will be added to patient care teams at all facilities. Hospitals will stop distributing formula samples to breastfeeding mothers and they will work with community organizations and healthcare providers to create networks that provide home or clinic-based breastfeeding support for every newborn.  Those that don’t currently support breastfeeding will partner with “baby-friendly” hospitals to learn how to improve maternity care.

The CDC has embarked on this mission because it claims that low rates of breastfeeding add $2.2 billion a year to medical costs. Formula-fed babies have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and respiratory and ear infections and tend to require more doctor visits, hospitalizations and prescriptions. Changing hospital practices to better support mothers and babies can improve these rates.

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