Environmental Justice: Obesity, Physical Activity, and Healthy Eating

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The term “environmental justice” refers to efforts to address the disproportionate exposure to and burden of harmful environmental conditions experienced by low-income and racial/ethnic minority populations.

Methods:

Based on computer and manual searches, this paper presents a review of articles in the published literature that discuss disparities in physical activity, dietary habits, and obesity among different populations.

Results:

This paper provides evidence that economically disadvantaged and racial/ethnic minority populations have substantial environmental challenges to overcome to become physically active, to acquire healthy dietary habits, and to maintain a healthy weight. For example, residents living in poorer areas have more environmental barriers to overcome to be physically active.

Conclusions:

We propose a research agenda to specifically address environmental justice with regard to improving physical activity, dietary habits, and weight patterns.

Taylor is with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, Houston, TX 77030. Poston is with the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64110. Jones is with the Center for Research on Minority Health, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030. Kraft is a former Senior Program Officer with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is currently an independent consultant in Princeton, NJ.