For decades murder and HIV/AIDS has not only taken over but also destroyed the African American/Black community. These have been two causes of death that has increased tremendously over the years. However, unfortunately for the African American community another source of destruction has climbed the ladder to the top three causes of death in the African American community. Obesity is a disorder that is rapidly growing and spreading across the world. Research has shown that college students are the typical targets of this disease.

What is Obesity?According to the American Obesity Association, Obesity is a chronic disease with strong familial component. Obesity increases one’s risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes (type 2), heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease and cancer of the breast, prostate and colon. Obesity is not a lifestyle it is a deadly disorder. Obesity has been around for years but research has shown that is does not get as much attention as it should. Doctors have found that in most cases young people do not think that they can develop this disorder. Ashley Morgan, 23, management major says,” I think people misconceive what obesity really is. Just because someone is bigger than what we call the ideal size does not mean that they are obese.”

How can this disease affect me?Overweight and obesity in the U.S. occur at higher rates in racial / ethnic minority populations such as African American and Hispanic Americans, compared with White Americans. Asian Americans have a relatively low prevalence for obesity. Women and persons of low socioeconomic status within minority populations appear to particularly be affected by overweight and obesity. Cultural factors that influence dietary and exercise behaviors are reported to play a major role in the development of excess weight in minority groups. Obesity is a disease that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million). The number of overweight and obese Americans has continued to increase since 1960, a trend that is not slowing down. Today, 64.5 percent of adult Americans (about 127 million) are categorized as being overweight or obese. Each year, obesity causes at least 300,000 excess deaths in the U.S., and healthcare costs of American adults with obesity amount to approximately $100 billion.

What causes Obesity? One’s environment fosters the tendency toward obesity: lack of physical activity combined with high-calorie, low-cost foods. According to St Vincent Health, being seriously overweight is not caused by one single factor. There are a number of things that may contribute to one becoming morbidly obese. Some of these contributing factors are as follows: genetics, culture, physical inactivity, emotional or psychological factors, gender, age, high-fat/high calorie diet and medical problems. Children whose parents are obese also tend to be overweight. “A family history of obesity increases your chances of becoming obese by about 25 to 30 percent,” says research scientists of the American Obesity Association.. People learn to eat and cook the way in which they were brought up. Today’s culture promotes eating habits that contribute to obesity. People may serve large portions and foods that are most readily available instead of choosing foods that are most nutritious. Cooking with butter, chocolate and other high-caloric foods is a normal part of the American diet. Also, food is often used as a reward in this country. Children are treated to sweets for cleaning their room, and the team is taken for pizza or ice cream after the game. Seldom is eating only when hunger is present. “Many of us do not see the need to walk to class instead of drive. That little three-minute walk can make a world of a difference. Even if we are comfortable with our weight, we have to keep in mind that it is not always the outer appearance that matters when it comes to your health,” says Ashlee Yates, sophomore, international business and Spanish major, Memphis, TN/ Overweight people are usually less physically active than normal weight adults. It can cause shortness of breath, making you feel tired quickly. Also, we have so many laborsaving devices now that it is difficult for people to get exercise in the amounts the body requires. For example, we drive to a fast food restaurant to get dinner. We drive home, open up the door and relax on the couch with the remote control. All these devices can keep us from physical activity. Food is often a source of solace or celebration. If we feel blue, we may turn to food. If we celebrate a new job or birthday, we may go out to a big dinner. If a friend is grieving, we bake them a pie. Often as children, parents told us to clean our plates. Food carries many significant memories from our past. Food may be your best friend. Men have more muscle than women, and burn 10 percent to 20 percent more calories than women do at rest. For this reason, women are more likely to be obese.

What is being done to prevent/treat this disease? Dr. Olson and Dr.Brooks of St.Vincent’s Health believe in a holistic approach to weight loss and health improvement. Attention is given not only to the weight problem but also to lifestyle, behavior and emotional factors that affect weight, metabolic fitness and weight loss maintenance. All of their programs are directed by a physician and include medical evaluation and monitoring, dietary therapy, exercise therapy, behavior modification and maintenance programs. Optional treatment regimens may include medications, nutritional supplements, individual behavior therapy, individual psychotherapy, and advanced stress reduction.The Health and Human Service has given over $1.2 million to improve efforts to reduce obesity among African Americans through a new partnership with national African American organizations. The government has also put forth monetary donations in order to prevent obesity in children. With college students being typical targets for this disease it is vital that steps are taken to keep healthy. Some tips from experts are: Eat three times a day, making sure there are a salad, vegetable and fruit throughout the day. Eat small portions, instead of driving walk, eventually instead of walking jog. Cook things from scratch using less oils and butter. Try to exercise regularly and see your doctor on a regular basis.

Health insurance providers rarely pay for treatment of obesity despite its serious effects on health maintained, even weight losses as small as 10 percent of body weight can improve one’s health. The National Institutes of Health annually spends less than 1.0 percent of its budget on obesity research. Persons with obesity are victims of employment and other discrimination