There is a relationship between African-American women in Philadelphia, who have low incomes being at risk for obesity. This is due to factors like cheap and high fat foods being most accessible in their neighborhoods. Healthy and organic foods, such as grains, fruits, and vegetables are usually not affordable or available in these underserved communities. As a group, African-Americans, especially women and children have the highest percentage of obesity issues in the United States. According to Ebony Magazine, “80 percent of Black women are considered overweight or obese” (Sisters speak out…, 1 ). Furthermore, African-American women and children are less likely to participate in weight loss programs and exercise. Cultural events and beliefs about food influence how African Americans make choices to buy and eat healthy foods. Soul food or food that is high in fat, salt and calories is served at special events and at home. Low incomes lead to African Americans buying cheap, unhealthy foods. The over intake of high fats in these kinds of foods are making African American women and children overweight and unhealthy. Is there a connection between low-income, high fat diets, and African American females in Philadelphia being overweight? According to research studies, there is a connection between low-income and high fat diets in Black and or African-American women in urban neighborhoods. The research studies show that Black women shop at low cost grocery stores for their families. The research also shows that Black women eat high fat, unhealthy foods. More than half of the women surveyed did not know that foods high in fat increase the risk of heart disease and breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. Obesity in the black community has been linked to high fat consumption. Some of these health issues can be treated with high carbohydrate, high fiber, low sugar, low salt and low energy density foods. Women who make low-incomes tend to buy high carbohydrate, high fat, and high sugar foods. They are the cheapest and the unhealthiest foods, but they are the most obtainable in food deserts. What is a food desert? According to the USDA it is an area with insufficient amounts of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other whole foods. Food deserts are usually in impoverished areas where there are not enough farmers’ markets and other healthy food providers (Gallager, 1). Philadelphia, citywide, is filled with neighborhoods considered food deserts. In fact, statewide, over two million Pennsylvanian’s lack access to fresh food (Grey 1). The Coalition Against Hunger (TCAH) conducts a biennial report on food security in Philadelphia and close vicinities, the data collected in 2015 is a cause for great concern. It was discovered that in Philadelphia, one in four people face food insecurity (The Coalition Against Hunger, 1). In much of the city, residents depend on industrial, mass-produced foods, because it is easier to buy than fresh, unprocessed food. Snacks, fast food, and microwaveable meals are generally more attainable. In continuation, for many Philadelphia residents, especially those with disabilities, traveling to areas with supermarkets is not an option (Grey 1). Lack of resources in the inner-city of Philadelphia leads to African-American women being more at risk for obesity. In a 2009 report, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that “Philadelphia has the second-highest rate of obesity among 10 counties containing the nation’s largest cities.” (CDC 1.) In addition, the CDC reports that “more than 68% percent of adults and 41% of children between the ages of 6-17 are overweight or obese” (CDC 1). It is also specified that obesity is a larger concern for those who live in food deserts, rather than for those who do not. For instance, more than half of the children that live in North Philly, are overweight or obese. This rate is more than double the national average (CDC 1).It is true that fats in food are needed for good health. Fats give energy and essential fatty acids. Fats help in absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. However, it is known that high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet are linked to increase blood cholesterol levels heart disease. High fat diets also increase the risk of certain cancers. According to Jane Brody a scientist at the University of California, “it is the kinds of fats consumed, not the total amount of fat, which determines a woman’s risk of suffering a heart attack”(Brody 1). A 14 year study done by Dr. Brody found out about two types of fats: saturated fats, found mainly in meat and dairy foods, and trans fats, found in margarines, commercial baked goods, and deep fried foods are prepared with hardened vegetable oils. The research, which documented 939 out of the 1000 women who participated in study, suffered heart attacks, (Brody 1). According to Health Day News, a recent study on women between the ages of 25-40 found out that “women in their 30’s who ate diets rich in unhealthy trans fats had three times the risk of heart disease as those with the lowest intake.”(Healthy Day News, n.p.) Dr. Frank Hun, a research psychologist suggests that this study reinforced the idea that trans fat is bad. It is worse than saturated fat, and cutting out trans fats, should be done by individuals, food manufacturers and policymakers (Hun 1). Trans fats, also called hydrogenated fats, are man-made compounds made from processed liquid oils. These harmful fats will raise bad cholesterol and could lower a person’s good cholesterol levels. These fats are thick, stiff, clog up arteries and blood vessels, which cause heart attack or stroke. Trans fats are found in processed foods such as potato chips, cookies, doughnuts, cakes and many fast foods (Gordon, 1).According to an article called High-fat Diet Linked to Breast Cancer there was a study done on March 20, 2007. The study found evidence linking high-fat diets to a modest increase in breast cancer risk among older women. But all agree that more study is needed to prove an association once and for all (Boyles 1). In the largest study ever to address the issue, researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) asked 188,736 postmenopausal women about the foods they ate and then followed the women for an average of 4.4 years. They found that women whose diets included the most fat were 15% more likely to develop breast cancer than women who ate the least fat. The association was seen both in women who were overweight and those of normal weight (Boyles 1).According to Nicholas Bazaar high fat diets can cause colon cancer. Colon cancer survivors with diets high in meat and refined grains triple their risk of recurrence or death compared with those who eat fruits, vegetables and fish, a new study reports (Bakalar 1). Researchers studied 1,009 patients who had surgery for stage 3-colon cancer their tumors had metastasized to regional lymph nodes. All the patients completed detailed food questionnaires. In a follow-up of slightly more than five years, 324 patients had a recurrence of cancer, 223 died with a recurrence, and 28 died without documented recurrences. The patients who followed the high fat diet did have a recurrence. Compared with the one-fifth whose dietary pattern least resembled the high fat diet, the one fifth whose patterns most resembled it were 3.25 times as likely to have a recurrence of cancer or die (Bakalar 1)A diet high in fat has been suggested to contribute to a number of serious conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and forms of cancer. In conclusion women who make lower-incomes buy unhealthy foods that are high in fat because those foods are the only foods that they can afford. These women are struggling to survive and take care of their families. They purchase the cheapest foods because that is what they can afford. For many black households, not having money causes both hunger and obesity. This was called the economics of buying food by the Food Research Action Center or FRAC. Black families have to rely on cheaper, high calorie foods to cope with limited money for food. Families try to maximize caloric intake for each dollar spent, which can lead to overconsumption of calories and high fat diet. The FRAC research article showed that mothers also restricted their food intake, to protect their children from hunger and how this contributes to obesity among low-income children in families. Social attitudes about weight have changed as more African American adults become overweight, diabetic, and get cancer or heart disease. In communities where most women are obese the attitudes towards weight and high fat foods are associated with high levels of obesity. In many black and low-income communities, attitudes, norms, behaviors, and cultural influences may be connected with high levels of obesity (Gunderson 1). In lower income neighborhoods there may a mixture of positive and negative attitudes about being overweight. In most cases people who are thin are thought to be sick, addicted to drugs, or too poor to have enough to eat (Gunderson 1). Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s office started a program during Black History Month to end childhood obesity within a generation called “Let’s Move” and it was started to help American families and Black communities buy and eat healthier food. Her solution to the problem had four goals:Offer parents the tools and information they need to make healthy food choices for their children, including the launch of a public information campaign; Improve the nutritional quality of food served in urban schools;Ensure that families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities by eliminating food deserts; and Increase opportunities for children to be physically active, both in and out of school. The Partnership for a Healthier America is a organization that will help former First Lady Obama by getting support and money from six founding organizations: The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente, Nemours, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Ebony magazine wrote another solution that said “women may need counseling, a support group, behavior therapy, menu planning, and more information from the doctors or on the internet to help them reduce their calories and fat.” (Sisters Speak Out. …, 1) African Americans should increase their physical activity; reduce body weight by changing lifestyle, regular exercise. Eating smaller portions and more balanced meals instead of fried foods. Grilled or baked foods that have less saturated fat are healthier.Fortunately, there have been recent attempts to tackle the issue of lack of resources in the Philadelphia community specifically. Community members are beginning to open up supermarkets in areas like Southwest Philadelphia. The supermarkets are right in the heart of these food deserts. To many organizations and members of the community it has become clear that in many neighborhoods, in Philadelphia, it’s far too difficult to find fresh, healthy and affordable food. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that it had identified more than 6,500 food deserts in rural and urban areas. Food deserts aren’t just a problem of convenience, the U.S. depart of Agriculture emphasizes that “the lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease,” (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1). In continuation, the Reinvestment Fund has invested over $73 million in grocery services in the city, and as a result there has been a report of a 56% drop in city residents without access to healthy food options from 20015 to 2013. Moreover, residents in North and West Philadelphia received the greatest benefits from acquiring supermarkets in their neighborhoods, with an annual sale of $2 million dollars in a variety of products (Cunniffe 1).There are many ways to promote healthy eating and combat obesity in these low income neighborhoods. It starts by gaining access to markets with affordable produce, providing information about healthy meals, and the ability to cook healthier meals at home. In addition, eating smaller portions and incorporating fruits, vegetables, low fat, low salt, and low sugar foods into one’s diet encourages weight loss. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a couple of times a week can make significant differences as well. One can begin by joining a weight-loss program with a support system (family member, friend), and supporting Michelle Obama’s program. However, while awareness is an important factor, it is important to recognize the limitations. This is not simply a matter of individual decision and or “making responsible choices”. For many African-American women there is a struggle to find jobs and to find housing with adequate kitchen facilities. This has a huge impact on whether or not families cook and or have time to exercise (Grey 1). In conclusion, there is a direct link amongst African-American women, that deal with issues of Poverty in Philadelphia, and health issues like obesity. This is a consequence of living in sections that do not have proper resources, such as places that provide nutritious foods at an inexpensive rate. Inner-city areas like Philadelphia are troubled by an increasing rate of health problems because of more available options of food consisting in high fats. Not being financially or physically able to travel far distances to purchase more beneficial food options is another key a factor. Also, the social and cultural norms associated with the types of foods that are consumed and body type standards associated with these diets contribute to the issue. Foods that are associated with African-American heritage (soul food) is generally not helpful in a healthful diet because of the high salt, high sugar, and high grease levels. Furthermore, because of stigmatisms in these communities associated with being slender, like the implications of drug use, it is sometimes frowned upon to lose weight. As a result there are many African-American women living in underserved communities at risk for being overweight and or obese, in Philadelphia.