The United States is currently in the midst of an epidemic of obesity and overweight.* Between the 1970s and 2012, the prevalence of obesity rose from 5% to 8.4% in children ages 2 to 5 and from 6.5% to 17.7% in children ages 6 to 11.1 Poor diet and inactivity are close to overtaking cigarette smoking as the lead cause of preventable death.2 Should the rate of obesity continue to grow, the country faces the possibility that future generations will have shorter life spans than their parents.3Register/Login
In a country where our cultural and ethnic makeup is increasingly diverse, the burden of the obesity epidemic falls disproportionately on minority and low-income populations. Black non-Hispanic and Hispanic populations have obesity rates of 49.5% and 39.3% (age adjusted), respectively, in comparison with a 34.3% rate among white non-Hispanics.4 Children in families with incomes under the poverty level have obesity rates 92.7% greater than in families with incomes 400-499% of the poverty threshold.5
It has never been more critical for public health professionals to be able to provide effective nutrition counseling to children and adults from multiple cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, and socioeconomic settings.
This curriculum provides tools to assist public health/Maternal and Child Health (MCH) professionals in delivering culturally and linguistically competent nutrition education and counseling by:
* The American Medical Association's Working Group on Managing Childhood Obesity recommends that individuals from the ages of 2 to 18 years, with a BMI ≥ 95th percentile for age and sex, or BMI exceeding 30 (whichever is smaller), should be considered obese; and (ii) individuals with BMI ≥ 85th percentile, but < 95th percentile for age and sex, should be considered overweight. However, the terms "overweight" and "obesity" are frequently used interchangeably in the literature to describe this group of children and adolescents.
1 Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. 2014. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011–2012. Journal of the American Medical Association 311(8):806–814. 2 Mokdad AH, Marks JS, Stroup DF, Gerberding JL. Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000. JAMA. 2004; 291(10):1238-1245. doi:10.1001/jama.291.10.1238. 3 Institute of Medicine. 2012. Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, January 2010. 5 Healthy People 2020. Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity: Latest Data (Data Source: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), CDC/NCHS).