Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

New Study Finds African-Americans are the most obese group in US July 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alicia @ 10:46 am

I know we spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the multiple reasons that obesity is so high in our communities but I just had to post this article. The source of the study for this article is a recent CDC Study.

On a positive note there are people out there making strides to eliminate the disparities that make it harder for minorities to each good quality, affordable, healthy foods. Here’s an article from the Chicago Tribune that highlights a new program by black churches in the area to start selling fresh produce from local farmers at black churches in the community,0,6966754.story .

ATLANTA — Nearly 36 percent of black Americans are obese – much more than other major racial or ethnic groups – and that gap exists in most states, a new federal study finds.

About 29 percent of Hispanics and 24 percent of whites are obese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. Overall, about 26 percent of U.S. adults are obese.

Racial differences in obesity rates have been reported before, and health officials were not surprised to see larger proportions of blacks tipping the scales.

But the new CDC report is the first to look at the gap state-by-state, finding blacks had significantly higher obesity rates in 21 states and somewhat higher rates in many others.

Experts believe there are several reasons for the differences. People with lower incomes often have less access to medical care, exercise facilities and more expensive, healthier food. In many places, minorities are disproportionately poor.

“Poverty is a very strong driver of obesity,” said Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Attitudes about weight also are believed to be a factor, said Dr. Liping Pan, a CDC epidemiologist. Researchers cited a 2008 study that found black and Hispanic women had significantly lower odds of being dissatisfied with their body size than white women.

“Black and Hispanics are more accepting of high weight,” Pan said, adding that heavy people who are satisfied with their size are not likely to diet or exercise.

However, it could be that over time as people struggle with poverty and environment “they come to accept the higher weights,” Brownell said.

Obesity is based on the body mass index, a calculation using height and weight. A 5-foot-7-inch adult who weighs 190 pounds would have a BMI of 30, which is considered the threshold for obesity.

The data comes from a national telephone survey of more than 1 million Americans over the years 2006 through 2008.

For blacks, the highest obesity rate was in Maine, where 45 percent were obese. Tennessee was the state where Hispanic obesity was most common. And West Virginia was the fattest state for whites.

But generally, obesity was most common for both blacks and whites in the South and Midwest.

The study also broke down the groups by gender, and found black women were the heaviest, with 39 percent counted as obese. Black men were next, at 32 percent, then Hispanic women, 29 percent, Hispanic men, 28 percent, white men, 25 percent and white women, 22 percent.

The study is being published this week in a CDC publication, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.



The Associated Press
Thursday, July 16, 2009; 7:38 PM



5 Responses to “New Study Finds African-Americans are the most obese group in US”

  1. supernovadiva Says:

    i love what the chicago churches are doing because it is a serious situation. i remember when the price of food and gas was going up, i tried calling black mega churches who had the land to start a gardening program on their properties. some of the churches had members who lived in those section 8 apartments across the street from them. i got the gas face. one was all about bragging about the yet bigger church they were building. yes sir, serving god’s people…

  2. Anonymous2 Says:

    Dear Moderator, I am genuinely curious about this article. Please post/approve the following if you feel it can be appropriate or useful for thought.

    Im surprised by the lack of comments on this article. Mike Stobbe, the author, writes “Experts believe there are several reasons for the differences. People with lower incomes often have less access to medical care, exercise facilities and more expensive, healthier food. In many places, minorities are disproportionately poor.”

    My thought is ‘what difference does it make if people have access to exercise facilities in order to lose weight?’

    Nobody wrote any comments on this. Is this because

    1) That statement is true, and POC believe they need exercise facilities to lose weight ( as in situps, running in place or around block, pushups, yoga, et al does not work ).

    IF this statement is true, it seems that there could be the following implications:

    a) POC have no access to physical fitness education or training such that they believe one can only be fit in an exercise facility

    b) POC’s expectations from majority culture leads them to believe one can only become fit in some type of exercise facility

    c) Some other obvious or non-obvious factors such that exercise facilities provide to help reduce weight


    2) That statement is false and lack of exercise facilities cannot be one of the reasons for obesity. IF this is the case why has nobody made any issue of this in the comments here? Because IMHO it either makes the Author or the people interviewed seem undereducated about fitness. Yet nobody called out the Author on this…

    • Royce Says:


      3) Some of us recognize that it is easier to exercise with access to an “exercise facility.”


      4) Access could be defined in terms other than financial and could include time, geography, and other factors.

      In which case:

      a) Perhaps lower-income folks don’t have as much time to exercise period. ex: God knows my mom tried to exercise when I was growing up but had trouble because you know, 2 kids on top of a job. So I can imagine something as common as having more than one job would also make it more difficult.

      b) Geographically it may be difficult to just go work out in certain places.

      (and most likely?)

      5) Considering folks of color aren’t a monolith, by any stretch of the imagination, maybe some of us just didn’t care. I already know poor folks are disproportionately overweight, and poor folks are disproportionately folks of color (And folks of color disproportionately poor). And I don’t care what the CDC has to say about it.

  3. adam Says:

    To follow up Royce’s response, check out this great Washington Post article in which it is argued “You have to be rich to be poor.”

  4. Superfoods Says:

    Yeah, don’t need an exercise facility to lose weight and be healthy. the mission of my fiancee and I is to share the benefits of simple raw food diet, you can grow amazing sprouts in your house. The key is educating people on what they are eating, no matter what income level they are at, yes?

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