Racial And Gender Implications Of Body Weight

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The following summarizes studies on minority health from the October issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association.

  • "National Newspaper Coverage of Minority Health Disparities":The study assesses newspaper coverage of minority health disparities inthe U.S. For the study, researchers Anouk Amzel and Chandak Ghosh ofthe Department of General Pediatrics at Morgan Stanley Children-s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian performed a LexisNexisnews search for articles related to health disparities published in 257newspapers between 2000 and 2004. During the time period, 1,188articles -- 0.09% of all articles during that time period -- related tominority health disparities were published. Most were aboutconferences, meetings and speeches by public health officials andpoliticians. Health disparities related to cancer, cardiovasculardisease and HIV/AIDS received the most coverage, according to thestudy. Health disparities coverage involving blacks made up 60.4% ofall such articles. Researchers said, "Despite the release of majororganizational reports and the publication of many studies confirmingthe prevalence of [minority health disparities], few newspaper articleshave been published explaining [them] to the public." Researchers saidthat if more U.S. citizens understood that minority health disparitiesexist, "they may galvanize to advocate for disparity elimination andquality improvement" (Amzel/Ghosh, JNMA, October 2007).
  • "One Size Fits All? Race, Gender and Body Mass Index Among U.S. Adults":The study examined the effect race and gender have on body mass index.Using data from the American Changing Lives Survey conducted by theUniversity of Michigan's Survey Research Centerin 1986, researchers studied a sample of 3,497 black and white, maleand female adults. They found that BMI was associated with a number offactors, including employment status, chronic illness, financial statusand religion. Race and gender as factors influencing BMI variedgreatly, however, according to the study. Researchers concluded that"addressing racial disparities in body weight-related outcomes requireshealth practitioners to modify obesity prevention and treatment effortsto incorporate a broader array of factors inherent to specific racialand gender populations" (Bruce et al., JNMA, October 2007).

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 HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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