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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW: Chair Calls for a New Approach to Prevent Obesity in Low-Income, Minority Communities

Dr. William Dietz, chair of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, recently authored a commentary in Pediatrics about how the social and environmental conditions in low-income communities impact obesity rates.

Dr. Dietz wrote the commentary, which was published on May 24, in response to two multi-center studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aimed at the prevention of obesity in low income Hispanic and African American children. Despite state-of-the-art interventions, the trials failed to alter the trajectory of weight gain in their participants compared with controls.

“Efforts to increase healthy options and reduce deterrents to prevent childhood obesity have focused almost exclusively on changing behavior, knowledge, and skills without changing the nutrition and physical activity environments that could make those changes possible,” Dr. Dietz wrote.

The failure of these studies may suggest that more fundamental changes in community environments, such as building community capacity and improving social and economic resources, are required to reduce or prevent obesity in these high-risk populations, Dr. Dietz explained.

Read more about the commentary.