Healthy Eating, Active Living
Working to improve opportunities for healthy eating and active living in Oregon and southwest Washington
Everyone deserves the opportunity to live a healthy life. Unfortunately, these opportunities are not equitably distributed, and tend to be least prevalent in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, exacerbating health disparities. The combination of physical inactivity and poor nutrition is now the nation’s second-leading preventable cause of death after smoking. Obesity significantly increases the risk of developing many of the leading causes of death in the United States, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
- Nearly 60% of Oregon adults are now either obese or overweight.
- One in four Oregon eighth graders are now overweight or obese.
- Between 1990 and 2007, the prevalence of obesity in Oregon rose 140%.
- Obesity costs Oregon at least $781 million per year in direct medical expenses - and well over $1 billion when one includes indirect costs such as lost productivity and co-morbidities.
- In 2009, the medical costs of obesity in the United States has rose to $147 billion annually up from $74 billion ten years earlier.
- The social and economic consequences of the obesity epidemic threaten to overwhelm our health system unless we implement comprehensive prevention strategies today.
Complex environmental factors influence the choices people make about eating and exercise. Research has shown that people who live in neighborhoods where healthy food is available, walking and biking is safe, and parks and other community resources are easily accessed, they are much more likely to maintain healthy weight.
The Northwest Health Foundation partners with communities to advance their efforts to improve options for healthy nutrition and regular physical activity. We are particularly interested in supporting resource-poor communities and racial and ethnic groups that have been disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic.