The World Health Organization reports that obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults overweight--at least 300 million of them clinically obese. (1) In the U.S., about one-third of adults are obese, and in our home State of Connecticut, more than 20% of the population is considered obese. (2) These statistics are not surprising given a culture that celebrates the consumption of unhealthy food and that is increasingly sedentary.
The good news is that there's a local group hard at work to create a healthier New Haven community. The Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) is a Yale School of Public Health program, established in 2007, that partners with the New Haven community to promote healthy living. It focuses on three risk factors: diet, exercise and tobacco use. In February 2012 CARE launched Big Food: Health, Culture and the Evolution of Eating, a year-long exhibition that was on display at the Peabody Museum. It was designed to:
- identify local, national, and global contributors to obesity and their consequences;
- expand visitors' scientific understanding of the complex forces that have resulted in the rise of obesity;
- develop educational opportunities for visitors to understand the scientific, cultural, health, and environmental aspects of obesity;
- promote collaboration between the sponsors, as well as the many university and community organizations committed to science and advocacy regarding obesity, public health, food production and distribution, and environmental sustainability.
The exhibit and its educational outreach received a grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s Critical Public Health Fund. The Fund was created in 1988 to serve as a permanent means to enable The Community Foundation to respond to new and emerging public health needs in the region.
Since creation, more than $350,000 in grants has been awarded from the Fund supporting programs that have: promoted drug-free communities, address hoarding and homelessness, reduce barriers to access to health care based on racism and cultural insensitivity, provide outreach and AIDS education, including a summer camp for children living with HIV/AIDS, ensure specialty healthcare for eligible uninsured adults, develop a youth violence prevention project, provide domestic violence awareness and education and much more.
What you can do:
- Support nonprofits on giveGreater.org® working to create a healthier community
- Follow and support CARE's work in the community on Facebook and Twitter
- Make a gift to The Community Foundation's Critical Public Health Fund so more programs that promote healthy living can be funded
- Eat healthy and exercise daily; help others to do the same
(1) WHO: 10 Facts on Obesity
(2),(3) CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.HTML
(4) Valley CARES Quality of Life Report (2010)
Learn more about CARE from a Fall 2010 Yale Public Health Magazine article
Last updated July 2013