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Obesity Interventions in Underserved Communities

, 416 pages

19 line drawings

October 2014



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Obesity Interventions in Underserved Communities

Evidence and Directions

The obesity epidemic has a disproportionate impact on communities that are hard-hit by social and economic disadvantages. In Obesity Interventions in Underserved Communities, a diverse group of researchers explores effective models for treating and preventing obesity in such communities. The volume provides overviews of the literature at specific junctures of society and health (e.g., the effectiveness of preschool obesity prevention programs), as well as commentaries that shape our understanding of particular parts of the obesity epidemic and field reports on innovative approaches to combating obesity in racial/ethnic minority and other medically underserved populations in the United States. Authors make specific recommendations to policy makers which are designed to reverse the rising rate of obesity dramatically.

The thirty-one literature reviews, commentaries, and field reports collected here address obesity prevention and treatment programs implemented across a spectrum of underserved populations, with particular attention paid to children and adolescents. Aimed at students, clinicians, and community workers in public health and health policy, as well as family medicine and pediatrics, sociology, childhood education, and nutrition—and deeply informed by fieldwork—this book demonstrates the importance of taking a full contextual view, both historical and current, when considering the challenge of reversing upward obesity trends among ethnic minorities, impoverished people, and other underserved populations.

Virginia M. Brennan is an associate professor at Meharry Medical College and the editor of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. She is also the editor of Disasters and Public Health: Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma and Free Clinics: Local Responses to Health Care Needs, both published by Johns Hopkins. Shiriki K. Kumanyika is a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. She is the founder and chair of the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network and the coeditor of Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making. Ruth Enid Zambrana is a professor in the Department of Women's Studies and the director of the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is an adjunct professor of family medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"Edited by prominent experts in the field and drawing upon the work of a wide range of expert authors, Obesity Interventions in Underserved Communities seeks to present the current state of evidence and direction of obesity interventions. The book is a substantial contribution to the field; there is nothing comparable on the market."

"A fascinating book. Recommended for anyone who is trying to understand the variety of challenges encountered in implementing obesity intervention programs, as well as the ways that those challenges have been met."

"Few health issues rival obesity in impact and the number of individuals affected. The nation is beginning to address obesity where the financial, economic, and human costs are greatest—underserved communities. History will show this book as a shining move toward establishing a roadmap for this effort."

"This book, therefore, serves as a showcase of recent grassroots movements that work across disciplines, health systems and sectors to address inequalities by using culturally appropriate approaches."

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