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Poor metabolic health is linked to underlying conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease that create major complications for people fighting coronavirus, confirming the critical link between C-19 and nutrition.
Chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease disproportionately affect the Black, Latino and Native American populations.
In addition, these minority groups face hurdles in accessing health, education and social services as well as affordable, healthy food, putting them at severe risk of C-19 coronavirus infection.
Though the factors underlying racial and ethnic disparities in Covid-19 in the United States are multifaceted and complex, long-standing disparities in nutrition and obesity play a crucial role in the health inequities unfolding during the pandemic.
A healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and calorie-dense processed foods, is essential to good health. The ability to eat a healthy diet is somewhat determined by 1’s easy access to Real foods.
In the US, poor diet is the leading underlying cause of death, having surpassed tobacco use in related mortality.
A study of dietary trends among US adults between Ys 1999 and 2012 showed overall improvement in the American diet, with the proportion of people who reported having a poor-quality diet decreasing from 55.9% to 45.6%; additional analyses revealed persistent or worsening disparities in nutrition based on race or ethnicity, education, and income level.
These disparities in nutrition are driven by the socioeconomic, educational, and environmental disadvantages that have historically beset vulnerable communities and that persist today.
For example, food insecurity affects approximately 11% of US households but is more common in Black, Latinx, and Native American households People experiencing food insecurity and living in food deserts may predominantly have access to low-cost, energy-dense processed foods.
Barriers to accessing high-quality, nutritious food, in turn, are major factors in people’s body-mass index.
The overall prevalence of obesity among US adults is 42.4%, but Black (49.6%), Native American (48.1%), and Latinx (44.8%) adults are disproportionately affected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Obesity is linked to numerous chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes conditions that significantly contribute to mortality and disability-adjusted life-yrs in the United States and that also disproportionately affect underserved racial and ethnic populations.
Obesity is a state of chronic, low-grade systemic inflammation, which may predispose patients to the “cytokine storm” characteristic of severe C-19.
In addition, adipose tissue may serve as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2 owing to its high levels of expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, perpetuating spread to other organs.
Furthermore, obesity may be a common denominator of associated coexisting conditions and underlying socioeconomic factors linked to worse outcomes from C-19.
These underlying mechanisms require further investigation to inform prevention and treatment. But to address this urgent public health issue, the confluence of obesity, severe C-19 outcomes, and health disparities based on race and ethnicity must be examined in the context of the social determinants of health.
A preponderance of low-quality nutrition, convenirent, cheap, aka, Junk food result in a higher prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases and so are responsible for the increased morbidity and mortality from C-19 in disadvantaged populations.
The US healthcare system needs a renewed and increased focus on health inequities, inclusiveness, resilience, and chronic-disease prevention, and the people affected must embrace it and make it a part of their daily lives.
Public health policies and legislative initiatives that reduce food insecurity and the lack of Real food in vulnerable communities are needed to address the upstream determinants of health.
The 2018 US Farm Bill, which devotes nearly $90-B annually to food and agricultural programs, includes provisions for disparities in nutrition, but we require innovative strategies and a greater commitment to good health within the US food system.
The toll of the C-19 coronavirus chaos cannot be undone, but the recognition of these disparities offers an opportunity to rise to the public health challenge of health inequity and to unite in a vision for a more healthy minority population.
Notably, these very vulnerable populations ‘feast‘ on Junk food daily, they do not buy or cook Real food, I do not believe they would do it if the government gave it to them.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively