The Fatness of Prince George’s County (Demo)

Uuuuurghhhhhhh we are so fat.  That’s the word according to statistics from the Washington Post article by Keith Harriston, “According to the county Health Department, 71.5 percent of adults in Prince George’s are obese or overweight. And 48 percent of youth 18 or younger are at risk for obesity and are currently overweight.  The obesity trend in Prince George’s has worsened even as the county has solidified itself as the premiere suburb in the nation for African American families. From 1995 to 2007, the number of obese county residents increased by 13 percent, according to the 2011-14 Prince George’s County Health Improvement Plan.”  
Even the storms that come through Prince George’s County are overweight.  WTOP reported a “fat funnel cloud was spotted in the Brandywine area Monday evening but a quick storm that blew through Prince George’s County caused little to no damage.”
Education Graduation ImageAccording to the article, education plays a major part in your health but the college educated and well-heeled in Prince George’s County are just smart, affluent porkers, “County residents who have some college education or college degrees reported a more favorable health status on every chronic illness measured except for two — overweight/obesity and high blood pressure. Usually, experts say, more education means better health. But that’s not the case when the disease is obesity in Prince George’s. Natalie S. Burke, a county resident and chief executive officer of CommonHealth Action, a national nonprofit public health organization, lays blame on cultural phenomena. Black county residents, in particular, she says, tend to have desk jobs that involve little physically intense work. She says they drive their cars everywhere and squeeze “meals” in between long work days and toting children from activity to activity.”

District Heights Healthcare
Courtesy Wash. Post

For some, the problem is access.  In District Heights, there is one doctor for every 7,000 residents.  THAT is crazy. 
Being from DC, I’m accustomed to so much more transit access and walkability.  Surburban life is beautiful to look at and peaceful to live in but you have to get outside or it will kill you.  I was coming home from work last week, in the passenger seat with my non-driving self and noticed on Harry S. Truman Drive, there was a large number of women walking and jogging up and down that long stretch.  Some were in shape, most were not, but they were out there doing it.  That encouraged me.  Let’s hope it encouraged others too.
Green Line Metro TrainAs our development goals move toward transit oriented development, it is inevitable that people residing near metro stations will walk more.  In the meantime, Prince George’s County government officials have put forth several initiatives, according to the article, to address obesity: $3.25 million over two years ($2.6 million coming from a two-year grant) on a variety of programs aimed at educating residents about healthy eating habits, encouraging physical activities, launching community gardens where residents can grow vegetables and developing wellness plans for patients identified as having potential for developing chronic diseases like obesity.  Twenty-two county schools are participating in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to make their schools healthier for students and staff. To win an award, schools have to have nutrition services and physical activity programs that meet or exceed the alliance’s standards.
Long John Silvers Big CatchNot to belabor this post but the article also mentions that 70% of the restaurants in Prince George’s County are fast food restaurants.  PLEASE we have to stop this.  Long John Silvers Big Catch Fish Platter has just been voted the WORST fast food meal by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  Of the 3 Long John Silvers in the DC area, 2 of them are in Prince George’s County.  We have to make better choices even when bad choices are all around.  If we continue to support fat crap, that’s all we’ll have.

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