Children's Obesity Fund Recommends New Approaches to Fight Obesity in Low Income Areas Based on Rice University Study Linking Obesity and Poverty

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A recent Rice University study uncovers a significant link between poverty and obesity. The findings reveal the double burden of undernourishment and obesity in low-income communities, which can lead to developmental delays and poor academic performance in schools, in addition to the primary health issues already associated with obesity.

New evidence from a Rice University study recently uncovered a link between poverty and obesity. This finding was not a surprise to Children’s Obesity Fund co-founders, Dr. Michael Omidi and Julian Omidi. “While childhood obesity affects all income levels, this critical research shows that it is more prevalent in disadvantaged communities,” says Dr. Michael Omidi. “Thus it's important that childhood obesity prevention efforts consider the social and economic demographics of individual neighborhoods and communities.”

The study by Rice sociologists Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research’s Urban Health Program, and Justin Denney, associate program director, shows that neighborhoods with higher poverty and lower education are associated with greater child obesity risk even after consideration of relevant individual level factors.

The study, “Neighborhood Context and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Young Children’s Obesity: Structural Barriers to Interventions,” was funded by Rice University and the Kinder Institute’s Urban Health Program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports the results of the Rice University report. While the CDC cites a doubling of obesity rates for children in the United States in the past thirty years, the rates are significantly higher in low-income neighborhoods - a double burden. In addition, the Rice University report cites how child under-nutrition, prevalent in families where money for food is lacking, is a major factor in the high obesity rates among poor children.

According to Dr. Robert Black of Johns Hopkins University, “Double burdens means that countries, and in fact, families may have both under-nutrition so they may have children or adults who have reduced height, but also they may become overweight or obese and that has bad consequences for diabetes, for heart disease, for other chronic diseases.”

“These new findings show that because parents and children from less affluent communities are at a greater risk for obesity, it's even more important that Children's Obesity Fund serve as a resource for healthy diet and lifestyle choices,” adds Dr. Omidi. “Being overweight and undernourished can cause developmental delays creating both poor health and poor performance in school.”

The Children’s Obesity Fund encourages health organizations to continue efforts to promote healthy eating and increased exercise to combat childhood obesity in all communities. The benefits will be a healthier body and a sharper mind.

Co-founded by Julian Omidi and Dr. Michael Omidi, the Children’s Obesity Fund ( hopes to help reverse the trend of rising obesity rates in America. The goal of the non-profit charity is to help people fully understand the obesity issue and its dire impacts on individuals and society as a whole -- and to use that knowledge to encourage children to grow up strong and healthy. Children’s Obesity Fund partners with other organizations to educate and support parents, educators and others so that we can all work together to raise healthy, active, social, and happy children. While the organization does not accept donations, it does encourage direct contributions of money and talents to the associations featured on our website. Children’s Obesity Fund can be found on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.

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