Obesity Among Hispanic Youth

(“Michael and Susan Dell.”)

(“Michael and Susan Dell.”)

A race is a group of people that identify themselves as having a similar background, culture, and geographical origin. Genetics refers to the study of the genes that we possess, which often lead to visible traits or illnesses. Health is a broad term that represents a state of “well-being” in terms of physicality, mentality, and social integration. Unfortunately these terms have been used to further the agendas of powerful people in the past. For example, although genes cannot be used to identify a specific race and health is not specifically limited to the function of genes, eugenics, or the practice of improving the human population through selective breeding, was used by both the Nazis and the United States to try to remove groups of people who were deemed too poor, promiscuous, or too Jewish from their populations. There was also a misappropriation of research done to prove that the brains of African-Americans was smaller than that of Caucasians (craniometry), and thus “proved” that Caucasians were the more advanced race. We now know that there are no biologically discrete races and that many, many factors like education, wealth, and one’s environment all lead to large differences between races.

Obesity is very prevalent among Hispanics, especially the young. Some of the factors that contribute to overweight Hispanic youth are a lack of access to supermarkets with fresh fruit and vegetables, a culture that enjoys watching more television than just about any other culture, and a lack of community infrastructure and safety around extra-curricular physical activities (“Overweight and Obesity.”). Although there may be some genetic determinants for seeing this illness so often among Hispanics, it is more likely that social constructs are more responsible. This is especially evident as Hispanic children born in the United States have been found to be twice as likely to become obese than those born outside of the United States (“Overweight and Obesity.”).


Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Blog, The. http://msdcenter.blogspot.com/2012/01/child-obesity-rates-still-high-but-not.html/.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Overweight and Obesity Among Latino Youths.” Accessed July 10, 2014. http://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/web-assets/2010/05/overweight-and-obesity-among-latino-youths.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jaana Ashtiani says:

    Albert, I like the way that you broke down the three definitions and yet incorporated them all into one. I especially agree with the idea that these terms are used to provide power to those who were not always deserving of it. It was especially interesting to see the idea of eugenics displayed in America, something I was not aware of at all until we watched the video provided in lecture. I really like the way you incorporated health, race, and genetics into your statement regarding eugenics. It was truly not up to those who believed they had power to weed out the “bad” genes and then use that excuse to proclaim some races weaker than others.

    In my opinion racial categories are extremely barbaric and simplistic terms to use for not only clinical studies, but any sort of categorization as well. Race is too broad of a term and does not take into consideration many other factors such as environment and genetics. I think that perhaps using genetics primarily would be a good place to start, and then to take in environmental factors that AFFECT those genetic specifications. That way, we could categorize based on facts rather than just stereotypes.

  2. Jesse Miller says:

    I thought that your definitions of health, genetics, and race to be pretty close to what I would imagine them to be. I also thought that your connection of race to genetics and health through means like eugenics of the past and the political campaigns of past powers to be a great connection. The examples were of highly controversial things, but they were great examples of how people have used race as a base to define health and genetics throughout history, but has been shown in more recent times that there is no connection through race and genetics because there is no way to define a race in someone’s genes. I didn’t think to go as far back in history to show connection in race and genetics, I feel that it really helped to show how embedded it is in our society.
    Even though race does not have a genetic basis to it, it can still be a little useful to use race in the clinical sense because certain races have predispositions for certain diseases and can help to quickly to solve problems. But it is a slippery slope when using race for anything because people can be very sensitive to be classified as anything or any race, so it should be used only in the simplest ways and for not extensive purposes.

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