Jose, age 7, and his mother live in a one-bedroom apartment several blocks from his elementary school. He walks home alone from school most afternoons, lets himself into their apartment, and watches television or plays video games until his mother comes home from work. His favorite after-school snack consists of potato chips and a soda or fruit drink. For dinner, Jose’s mother usually brings something from a local fast food restaurant because she is “too tired to cook.”
Jose’s mother knows that their diet and mostly inactive lifestyle are not healthy for either one of them. She is currently being treated for high blood pressure and Jose’s pediatrician has expressed concern about his continued weight gain. However, Jose’s mother does not see how she can change anything given her work schedule and limited income. She does not own a car and so she must either ride the city bus or rely on a friend to take her to the nearest grocery store. The only neighborhood park that is within walking distance is located in an older section of town. Jose’s mother takes him there on weekends when she has time but does not feel that it is safe for him to go there alone during the week.
Prepare a two-paragraph essay in which you identify the environmental factors that may be contributing to this family’s health problems. Describe five steps that Jose and his mother could begin taking to achieve improved well-being based upon their current situation and the information presented in this chapter.