Howes has noted that childhood obesity is among the greatest health problem in the US with over 23 million children and teens affected (Howes, 2012). The figure shows a tremendous rise in the last few decades (Howes, 2012). Cunningham, Kramer, and Narayan (2014) concluded many cases of obesity in children could have occurred between the ages of 5 and 14 years, particularly among children who entered kindergarten while overweight.
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Environmental, socioeconomic, and genetic factors could be responsible for overweight and obesity in children. Howes notes that nearly 80 percent of obese children are likely to become overweight or obese adults (Howes, 2012). In addition, they are also likely to experience obesity-related complications such as heart conditions, diabetes, stroke, and cancer among others.
This article explores the relationship between childhood obesity and public transport.
Summary of the Articles
Blumenberg and Schweitzer observed that a devolved US transport policy can improve transportation planning and service provision to inner cities with low-wage earners (Blumenberg & Schweitzer, 2006). Therefore, majorities in these parts of the cities have access to public transport systems.
Todd Litman explores how transportation policy and planning decisions affect public health. He notes that conventional planning approaches have accounted for some risk factors but ignored other health issues that result from less active transport such as reduced walking and cycling activity (Litman, 2013). The author focuses on how public transport can improve public health.
According to Lopez and Hynes (2006), many features in the suburban built environment such as poor street connectivity, low densities, and a lack of sidewalks have resulted in decreased physical activities and increased overweight. Hence, inner-city residents have recorded increased rates of obesity due to inactivity. These authors suggested that changing economic trends and investment decisions could change the situation.
How a lack of access to transportation may affect health disparities for Childhood Overweight and Obesity
Blumenberg and Schweitzer (2006) have noted that devolved systems of transportation could improve transport service provisions to low-wage earners in the inner cities. This would facilitate transportation and access to other services such as health. Individuals in inner cities tend to have a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity.
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From a critical point of view, Litman points out that poor transportation policy and planning decisions could have negative impacts on public health, particularly on overweight and obesity due to reduced physical activities (Litman, 2013). On this note, Lopez and Hynes established that many features of an inner-city built environment such as poor street connectivity, a lack of sidewalks, and low densities led to reduced physical activities, which increased the risks of being overweight (Lopez & Hynes, 2006).
Dealing with the health disparities for childhood overweight and obesity
Childhood overweight and obesity have increased steadily in the US, particularly in children aged between 5 and 14 years old. Childhood obesity could persist into adulthood and result in other health complications. Therefore, controlling obesity is important in public health policy.
Litman (2013), Lopez, and Hynes (2006) have shown that effective public transport policy and planning decisions could eliminate poor features in inner cities built environments. Such features have led to “low densities, poor street connectivity and the lack of sidewalks, which are associated with decreased physical activity and an increased risk of being overweight” (Lopez & Hynes, 2006). Therefore, effective transportation systems and planning decisions would ensure increased physical activities and reduced cases of overweight and obesity.
Childhood overweight and obesity have increased in the US. While public transportation systems have increased accessibility and service provisions to the public, poor decisions in inner-city built environments have led to reduced physical activities, which have led to overweight and obesity. Hence, effective transportation systems and planning decisions could eliminate such overweight and obesity-related challenges.
Blumenberg, E., & Schweitzer, L. (2006). Devolution and Transport Policy for the Working Poor: The Case of the US Job Access and Reverse Commute Program. Planning Theory & Practice, 7(1), 7-25. Web.
Cunningham, S., Kramer, M., & Narayan, V. (2014). Incidence of Childhood Obesity in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370, 403-411. Web.
Howes, D. (2012). Health: Childhood obesity an increasing problem in the United States. State Journal. Web.
Litman, T. (2013). Transportation and Public Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 34, 217–33. Web.
Lopez, R., & Hynes, P. (2006). Obesity, physical activity, and the urban environment: public health research needs. Environmental Health, 5, 25. Web.