query: health organizing

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Tue May 8 11:04:45 CDT 2001

[ed:  please copy COMM-ORG with your responses to Peter's query.  A quick 
thought from me below.]

From: Peter Dreier <dreier at OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>


Syndicated columnist Neal Peirce -- the country's best regular analysis of
urban issues -- wrote this very provocative column about "obesity and
suburbia." Neal focuses here on suburban lifestyles, but there are clearly
class issues as well. I'm writing to ask if any one knows of any advocacy
or self-help groups that are working to address the link between
diet/obesity/exercise and class/income. (See article on "Rampant Obesity, A
Debilitating Reality for Urban Poor," NY Times, 12/26/2000). Low income
residents of suburbia and inner-cities are more likely to have less access
to quality and affordable food (supermarkets redline poor neighborhoods,
for example, and raise prices for lower quality food in inner city stores).
They also have less access to prenatal medical care, including nutrition
counseling, despite the WIC program. I assume that inner-city schools are
less likely to have physical education and health courses than more
affluent schools. I wonder, too, if poor people's dietary and exercise
habits are partially explained by the same factors that lead to higher
levels of smoking among the poor: anxiety and nervousness, a direct result
of economic disadvantage, as well as targeted advertising by the tobacco
companies (and junk food companies) in poor (and minority) neighborhoods?
(Eric Schloesser's wonderful new book, FAST FOOD NATION, has some insights
on the latter).

Any information on groups doing organizing, advocacy, and research on these
issues would be appreciated.


[ed: the COMM-ORG Health Organizing page 
http://comm-org.utoledo.edu/health.htm  might have some information on such 
things or at the very least contacts to ask. ]

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