Welcome to this issue of the UAMS Journal!
No other health issue affects more Arkansans than obesity. It’s a nationwide epidemic with strong roots in the rural and impoverished South, and Arkansas is no exception.
Nearly two-thirds of Arkansans are obese or overweight. Obesity is a major contributor to diabetes, stroke, heart disease and some cancers. At UAMS, we are involved in clinical programs, community initiatives and research that address obesity in adults and children.
In this issue, you will read how we fight childhood obesity through a weight-management clinic at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and a Delta Garden project in which middle school students learn about fresh fruits and vegetables by working in a school garden. Our Department of Dietetics and Nutrition is helping educate Head Start preschoolers and their parents about proper nutrition, and parents in southeast Arkansas are learning activities they can play with their children to encourage physical activity.
Church-going African-Americans in the Delta are praising a weight-loss program that connects faith and health and group exercise. The Arkansas Coalition to Prevent Obesity is facilitating cooking demonstrations at a farmers market in southwest Arkansas. And a 32-year-old tells how he lost more than 170 pounds through the UAMS Weight Loss and Metabolic Control Program.
Researchers are asking how to prevent obese mothers from programming their babies toward obesity, whether an online weight management program provides significant results and how to increase the availability of long-term care services for obese clients.
We’ve got a long way to go, but together we are making a difference.