Obesity rates are alarmingly high in the United States. Altogether, overweight and obesity rates exceed 70% of the U.S. adult population according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This figure comes with staggering health care costs, as obesity is known to heighten the risk of several chronic diseases including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Obese individuals also experience a decreased quality of life and a higher mortality rate. These negative health consequences are pronounced among minority populations who often have less access to health care along with a higher rate of obesity-related comorbidities.

African Americans are disproportionately affected by obesity. ­According to the American Heart ­Association, 77% of African American women and 63% of African American men are overweight or obese. Within African American faith-based communities, health education programs remain limited despite substantial evidence from the literature indicating its ­advantages. ­Significant barriers contribute to a low utilization of health promotion programs in African ­American faith-based communities. ­According to a systematic review in Obesity Reviews, some of these barriers include scheduling conflicts with church activities and keeping the ­interest of participants. Nonetheless, the same study concludes that health ­programs focused on weight management and weight-related behavior in ­African American churches can effectively help ­address the ­obesity issue.



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