The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 2/3 of U.S. adults and 1/5 of U.S. children are obese. Obesity increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.
Excess body fat is linked to 49% of endometrial cancers (20,700 cases per year), 35% of esophageal cancers (5,800 cases per year), 28% of pancreatic cancers (11,900 cases per year), 24% of kidney cancers (13,900 cases per year), 21% of gallbladder cancers (2,000 cases per year), 17% of breast cancers (33,000 cases per year),and 9% of colorectal cancers (13,200 cases per year). (1)
Diet and levels of exercise have been recognized as contributing factors to obesity. There are causative environmental factors which are beyond the control of individuals. Lack of access to full service grocery stores, high cost of healthy foods, and lack of access to safe places to play and exercise are examples. To address this issue, the CDC initiated the Measures Project. Its goal was to identify and recommend a set of obesity prevention strategies and corresponding suggested measurements that communities and local governments can use.
Increasing the availability of healthier food and beverage choices in public service venues, such as schools, child care centers, community recreational facilities, and prisons was one recommendation. Strategies to make healthier foods more affordable include lowering prices on healthier items and providing discount coupons and vouchers toward the purchase of healthier products. Additionally a recommendation is to decrease the price of healthier food which are sold in vending machines and increase the price of less healthier foods which are sold at concession stands.
Increasing the number of supermarkets and full service grocery stores in under served areas is another recommendation. Such stores offer a larger selection of healthier foods at lower prices compared to small grocery or convenience stores. One study demonstrates the association between supermarket availability and obesity was stronger for black students and for students whose mothers worked full-time.