Obesity | St. Louis Public Radio


Christina Popp of Operation Food Search extolls the virtues of turnips and rutabagas on a Cooking Matters in the Store tour at a Ferguson Shop 'n Save. Steve Weisman of St. Louis County looks on.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Christina Popp has a theory about ground beef: It’s more cost effective to purchase a leaner version because most of the fat cooks out.

Davion Thompson, 14, clocks the speed of cars passing the intersection of Gasconade Street and Compton Avenue Saturday, Oct 10, 2015 during Trailnet's traffic calming demo.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Brightly-colored tires simulating flower beds popped-up along a two-block stretch of Gasconade Street Saturday in the Dutchtown neighborhood of south St. Louis.

Bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group Trailnet set the tires up to block the corners of intersections leading up to Marquette Park, shortening the distance people crossing the road were exposed to traffic. Other tires formed a zig-zag route for drivers to navigate.

According to the new study, a woman's weight before her first pregnancy may have long-term effects.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | National Institutes of Health

Women who are an unhealthy weight during their first pregnancy might have a false sense of security if their babies are born with no complications. But a new study out of Saint Louis University suggests complications can still arise when the women get pregnant for a second time — even if, by then, they have reached a healthy weight.

via Flckr/JeannetteGoodrich

The city of St. Louis has updated, localized information about how many residents are overweight. According to 2014 driver’s license data provided by the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles, about 61 percent of St. Louis residents are overweight or obese.

The St. Louis Health Department released a report analyzing the data on Wednesday.

Northwestern University communications and psychology professor Ellen Wartella
Courtesy Webster University

The Institute of Medicine first rang the alarm bells about childhood obesity in 2004, when a study found that obesity rates had more than doubled among children in the previous 30 years. At that time, they identified that about one-third of American children were either obese or overweight, and two-thirds of adults were obese or overweight. The question became why.

via Flckr/JeannetteGoodrich

With more than 50 percent of its citizens overweight or obese, the city of St. Louis has set a goal of reducing obesity in the city by 5 percent by 2018. To help meet that goal, the city’s health department has set up an online portal for St. Louisans to get involved.

The online “Jump N2 Shape,” portal gives nutrition and fitness advice and calls for St. Louisans to join the weight loss movement. Once signed up, individuals can log the exercise they complete and the pounds they lose.

Claire McCaskill's Flickr Page

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., received a lot of attention last week for her pointed questioning of TV celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz during a hearing on weight-loss scams. She spoke with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh today about that hearing, and her concerns about obesity in America.

“I think it is irresponsible for a doctor of medicine who understands science-based research to tout anything as a miracle pill for weight loss,” said McCaskill, explaining that she thought Dr. Oz “sometimes blurs the line between entertainer and doctor.”

(City of St. Louis Department of Health)

From the outside, Regal Meat Market, at 5791 Thekla Ave. in north St. Louis looks like a typical urban corner store. Situated in Walnut Park East, an area where few outsiders go, it has bars on the windows and a large sign next to the door advertising Newport cigarettes. 

(Via Flickr/InspiredHomeFitness)

Obesity has increased dramatically in the United States over the past several decades.

In Missouri, almost two-thirds of adults ― and more than a quarter of children and teens ― are either overweight or obese.

U.S. CDC Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, 2008-2011. *Represents statistically significant annual decrease or increase in obesity.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.  to adjust y-axis units on graph and to add second map.

It's not a big change, but it's at least in the right direction.

According to a new report released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity among low-income preschoolers (ages 2-4) declined by at least one percentage point over the period from 2008 to 20011 in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Earlier this year, the American Medical Association voted to re-classify obesity as a disease rather than a condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of adults in the United States are obese. Combine those two facts, and it can now be said that one in three Americans are ill, all with the same disease.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When an obese patient walks into a doctor's office, the physician isn't likely to talk about weight unless it's the reason for the visit. That attitude might change now that the American Medical Association has classified obesity as a disease. Among other things, this means doctors are more likely to engage patients in a discussions about their weight, while insurers will be more likely to cover weight-loss treatment.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Writer Alice Randall triggered a lot of discussion last summer when she argued in a New York Times column that “many black women are fat because we want to be.”

Some black women prefer bulk over thinness, according to Gary G. Bennett, a psychologist who heads the Duke University Obesity Prevention Program. In a speech today at noon at Washington University, he argues that it might make more sense to make obesity the new normal for some black women rather than preaching weight loss to them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Scheronda Gregory grew up in a household where her mother disdained exercise and prepared meals with “a lot of butter, a lot of salt, things that we know we are not supposed to have.”

On Sunday, during the second session of a health and wellness program called Fit City, Gregory talked about the difficulties of having a conversation about health and physical fitness with a mother who, at age 66, weighs more than 300 pounds and needs 14 pills and two insulin injections to get through the day.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Tracey Mack used to cringe at the sight of an older photo of himself  as an overweight man. That image -- and a fear of becoming obese -- prompted him to get serious about physical fitness.

JeWania Grandberry reached a similar conclusion about the value of regular exercise because being overweight meant enduring times when “everything hurts.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites --

Fit City, a Beacon health project, kicks off publicly with a story today and events this Sunday at Central Baptist Church and next Sunday at New Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church. But this is a journey that's already been underway for several months at the Beacon. We hope you'll come along as it continues.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Talking about the problem of obesity on the north side of St. Louis, a public health professor told the Beacon in 2009, "There are fried chicken places but not a Subway where people can get something healthy fast."

Her point: Outsiders shouldn't be too surprised that obesity is more pervasive in a section of the city where eateries offering low-calorie food are generally nonexistent. The professor might be pleased to know that some Subway shops have since opened on the north side. But obesity is still out of control.

Go! St. Louis

Childhood obesity is an epidemic which has tripled in the last three decades.  Host Don Marsh talks with experts about the disease and ways to prevent it.  Host Don Marsh talks with Amy Moore, a nutrition and dietetics instructor at Saint Louis University and Nancy Lieberman, President and Founder of GO! St. Louis.

Go! St. Louis is a local nonprofit organization which encourages individuals and families in the St. Louis region to adopt an active and healthy lifestyle year round.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

MAP scores released

The St. Louis school district could be a year away from regaining partial accreditation.  Missouri's Annual Performance Reports, or MAP scores, have been released today.  They show that St. Louis city schools have met seven standards, including one academic standard. 

Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro says they're looking for sustained improvement over time.

(via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Missouri is among 12 states cited in a new government survey with very high obesity rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released figures Monday showing that Missouri is among a dozen states with obesity rates of at least 30 percent. The CDC says 30.3 percent of Missourians are obese.

Overall, more than a third of adults are obese. The latest figures are based on a 2011 telephone survey that asked adults their height and weight. For the first time, households with only cell phones were included.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Study says region needs more immigrants

A new study to be released this morning says the St. Louis region needs to attract more immigrants if it wants to thrive in the current economy.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch got an advance look at the study, written by Saint Louis University professor Jack Strauss.

(via Flickr/Dani Lurie)

Washington University's Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research and the Missouri Foundation for Health have launched a "first-of-its-kind" website with information on obesity-related policy for organizations across the state.

The site, named "Policy Lift" has a variety of different functions, as an announcement about the site describes:


Dangerously hot in St. Louis Metro area Monday and Tuesday

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Monday and Tuesday due to extreme temperatures and humidity.

John Carney with the National Weather Service says heat index values will range from 110 to 115 degrees.

Scientists have taken another step toward understanding human nutrition.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown they can grow entire collections of human intestinal microbes in the laboratory.

Washington University microbiologist Dr. Jeffrey Gordon says his team then transplanted the bacterial communities into previously germ-free mice, to see how the lab-grown bacteria would respond to a human diet.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: With its two-story brick and siding homes, black metal mail boxes on the lawns, and sturdy sidewalks out front, the quiet stretch of St. Ferdinand, west of North Vandeventer, looks more like a slice of suburbia than a piece of north St. Louis. In a part of town where the quiet of some neighborhoods is interrupted by occasional gunfire, this street offers a safe haven for youngsters like Derriyon Hobbs.

A chubby kid with a ready smile, Hobbs often spent his summer days pedaling his bike up and down St. Ferdinand without the watchful eye of his mother, Sherita Calvin. Both are grateful to have come to a neighborhood where people walk at their leisure rather than at their peril.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There have been times when Tracy Blue's mood was a perfect match for her last name. She was often irritable and occasionally depressed as she coped with Type 2 diabetes and the burden of carrying as much as 254 pounds on her 5'4" frame.

During the past year, however, her health has improved and her weight has dropped, thanks in part to an exercise and counseling program tailored to African Americans like herself. Called BODDY, the program operates out of the Monsanto YMCA in north St. Louis and is run by Washington University's Health and Nutrition Center.

On Science: Type II diabetes epidemic

Jul 1, 2008
diabetes_chart247.jpg - 2008, 300 pixels
Copyright Textwriter | St. Louis Beacon archives

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 1, 2008 - We Americans love to eat; but on June 24, 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report warning we are eating ourselves into a diabetes epidemic.

Diabetes affected 7 million Americans in 1991. By mid-2008, the number was 24 million, more than 8 percent of all Americans, an alarming increase, with 3 million new cases in just the last 2 1/2 years! Twenty-five million more Americans are reported to be pre-diabetic, with blood sugar levels high enough to indicate they are well on their way to becoming diabetic.

Childhood obesity numbers may be leveling off

May 30, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: May 30, 2008 - A glimmer of hope may be appearing in the bleak landscape of our nation's childhood obesity epidemic. The number of children with a high body mass index has shown no increase from 1999 to 2006, according to an article published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But experts warn that only cautious optimism is warranted.

The reason for the apparent leveling off is seen as a mystery. It could be sign of progress or, rather, that we have simply bottomed out. Or maybe we just can't get any fatter.