Family researchers explore link between jail, obesity
BATON ROUGE - Researchers at Southern University painted a grim picture of what black children face growing up in Louisiana at a family summit Friday.
The researchers told people at The State of Families of Color in Louisiana that black children are more likely to die before adulthood than white children. Researchers also noted there could be a connection between the high rates of both obesity and incarceration in the state.
The researchers said people need to realize obesity issues are not just a result of a lack of exercise and eating healthy.
"Our report showed that a child that has obesity as a problem within themselves and their family is really an indicator of a deeper level of problems. That when we peeled back the onion we began to see things like the systemic problems of mass incarceration," said Dr. Lue Russell, a professor at Southern and the program's organizer.
Dolfinette Martin, one of the summit's main speakers, served eight years in prison and said it kept her away from her five children for too long. She said because of her incarceration they suffered things she wants to prevent other kids from going through.
"It plays a major part in why children are obese. Incarceration... and even me coming home... I was almost two hundred pounds," said Martin.
The university has programs in place to help families dealing with incarceration. You can find out more about the group's findings by visiting Southern's website.