Massachusetts is known for its strong academics and lively culture, but the state also has a big public health problem: obesity. Massachusetts has a higher rate of overweight adults than the rest of the country, at 26.8%, compared to 32.0% nationally. This widespread problem has many effects, including negative effects on people’s health and well-being, the state’s healthcare system, and the economy as a whole.
Among the 14 counties in the state, 32% of people in Bristol County are overweight or obese. Most of this scary number is felt in Fall River, the county seat and the 10th biggest city in the state. At 34.5%, Fall River has a much higher rate of obese adults than the state average. It is also one of the 100 places in the US with the highest rate of obesity.
Look at this table to see how many obese adults live in each place in Massachusetts:
|Adult Obesity Rate
Understanding the Roots of Obesity in Fall River
Fall River has a high rate of obesity for a lot of different reasons. Disparities in income, not having easy access to healthy foods, and few chances to be active play big roles.
Like many other towns that used to be industrial, Fall River has seen its economy fall and unemployment rise. This has made people more stressed and more likely to use unhealthy ways to deal with their problems, like making bad food choices. The city’s landscape is also mostly made up of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, which makes it hard for people to find healthy food choices.
Additionally, Fall River lacks the facilities and infrastructure to encourage physical exercise. Residents have difficulty exercising regularly because there aren’t many parks, green areas, or recreational facilities. It’s especially worrying that underserved communities don’t have easy access to physical exercise opportunities. These communities often face extra problems when they try to live healthier lives.
Impact of Obesity on Fall River’s Community
Fall River has a big problem with fat that affects many people in the city. Many long-term diseases, like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some kinds of cancer, are more likely to happen if you are overweight. These conditions make healthcare more expensive, make people less productive, and lower their quality of life generally for themselves and their families.
Being overweight costs a lot of money. In 2016, the medical costs in Massachusetts linked to obesity were about $5.1 billion. These costs affect people, strain the state’s healthcare system, and make it more expensive for everyone to get health insurance.
Addressing the Obesity Crisis: A Multifaceted Approach
To stop the rising number of overweight and obese people in Fall River, we need to work on the underlying social and economic issues, make it easier for people to get healthy food, and promote physical exercise.
On the social and economic front, programs that help people get jobs, go to school, or make ends meet can help lower stress levels and give people the tools they need to make better choices. Getting the word out about community gardens, farmers’ markets, and funded healthy food programs can help more people access healthy foods.
Making a setting that supports exercise as a normal part of life is important for encouraging people to be active. This means making more parks, recreation areas, safe bike tracks, and sidewalks available. Getting people involved in neighbourhood fitness programs and making fitness centres accessible cheaply can also help get people moving.