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Arizona is facing an obesity epidemic. One city in particular has been struggling with high obesity rates for years.
According to recent studies, the city with the highest adult obesity rate in Arizona is Yuma. In Yuma County, over 35% of adults are considered obese.
There are a few key reasons why obesity rates are so high in Yuma. First, Yuma residents have less access to healthy, affordable food options. Many low-income neighborhoods are considered "food deserts" with few grocery stores or farmers markets.
Second, Yuma has a culture that promotes overeating and sedentary lifestyles. Events and social activities often revolve around eating large portions of unhealthy foods. Physical activity is also not heavily encouraged.
Finally, poverty and low education play a role. Nearly one in four Yuma residents live below the poverty line.
Those with lower incomes and education levels tend to have higher obesity rates due to limited resources and knowledge about nutrition.
To combat the obesity epidemic, Yuma is working to bring more supermarkets and farmers markets to underserved areas.
Community programs also aim to change attitudes around food, diet and exercise through education. With ongoing efforts, Yuma hopes to see obesity rates start to decline.