Issue Brief: Health Disparities Related to Obesity in Appalachia, Practical Strategies and Recommendations for Communities

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Obesity, which is both a chronic disease and a risk factor for other chronic diseases, contributes to higher rates of premature mortality in Appalachia. Drawing on research presented in the health disparities and Bright Spot reports, this brief focuses on promising practices, intervention strategies, and policies aimed at reducing health disparities related to obesity. This brief: ■ summarizes statistics on obesity and related disease in Appalachian communities, ■ discusses key strategies and resources for preventing and reducing obesity, and ■ provides recommendations for community leaders, funders, and policymakers. This brief discusses four recommendations in detail: 1. Establish healthy behaviors among children and youth to prevent childhood obesity. 2. Increase the availability of affordable healthy foods and beverages in communities. 3. Create safe communities that support physical activity. 4. Increase physical activity and healthy eating among adults.