Obesity, Being Overweight Linked To Minorities, Low Socioeconomic Status

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The rate of obesity in the U.S. increased from 13% to 32% of thepopulation between the 1960s and 2004, and minorities and those in lowsocioeconomic status groups make up a disproportionate number of thoseaffected, according to a study published in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, United Press International reports (United Press International, 7/11).

For the study, May Beydoun, a postdoctoral fellow in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health,and colleagues analyzed 20 journal papers, reports and online data setsto examine rates of obesity across different groups. They also useddata from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health. The study said that by 2015, 75% of adults will be overweight and 41% will be obese.

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Specific Findings

Among minorities, the study found that:

  • Non-Hispanicblack women and children; Mexican-American women and children; blackmen with low socioeconomic status; American Indians; and PacificIslanders were more likely than others to be overweight;
  • 80% of black women ages 40 and over were overweight, while 50% were considered obese;
  • Asianswere less likely to be obese than other groups; however, those born inthe U.S. were four times more likely to be obese than foreign-bornAsians; and
  • Black and Mexican children and adolescents are more likely to be overweight than white children.

Beydounsaid, "Our analysis showed patterns of obesity or overweight forvarious groups of Americans. All groups consistently increased inobesity or overweight prevalence, but the increase varied by group,making this public health issue complex." She added, "More researchneeds to be completed to look into the underlying causes. Obesity islikely to continue to increase, and if nothing is done, it will soonbecome the leading preventable cause of death in the United States"(JHSPH release, 7/10).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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