Obesity is one of the most significant public health problems in the United States and leads to increased risk for chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, and certain cancers Obesity is more prevalent among women, and minority women are more likely to be obese compared to white women. Although individual-based obesity intervention trials have been efficacious in weight loss, there has been relatively little translation to feasible and effective community-based approaches to reach the broader population. Public health experts recognize the need for an ecological approach to addressing determinants of health in community and environmental contexts. Socioeconomic status is one of the strongest predictors of health, and determinants such as income, educational attainment, occupation, and neighborhood and community characteristics play a greater role in health than individual behaviors or access to health care. Income disparity, the gap between those at the highest and lowest income levels, also predicts health and is increasing within North Carolina. Health promotion interventions that ignore the socioeconomic context and social determinants of the health of populations cannot sustain positive effects, and according to Kaplan and colleagues, âthere is growing evidence that the social and economic status of a community has a powerful effect on the health of the residents of that community; therefore, interventions to alleviate health problems such as obesity should address social and economic factors.
Last date updated on September, 2014