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Submitted By karmennicole13
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Karmen Chavis
MHA 610- Intro to Biostatistics
“Obesity in African American & Other Minority Communities in the United States”
Professor: Saran Tucker
11/21 /2011

Obesity in African American and Other Minority Communities in the United States” Obesity in the African American and other minority communities has increasingly and rapidly become an epidemic, affecting many people in the United States. During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity that plagues the United States of America (www.cdc/gov). Although there are many underlying factors, lack of nutrition and healthier food choices, lack of exercise, lack of knowledge, and emotional/ psychological problems are the most prevalent causes of obesity. According to research by Silja J.A. Talvi,: (2006) “In the United States, rates of obesity is highest in poor communities of color”; statistics and research has proved.
What is Obesity? Obesity and overweight are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height (www.cdc.gov/obesity/defining.html). According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “For adults, overweight and obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI); BMI ranges for children and teens are defined so that they take into account normal differences in body fat between boys and girls and differences in body fat at various ages” (www.cdc.gov). It is also important to remember that although BMI Correlates with the amount of body fat, BMI does not directly measure body fat. Other methods of estimating body fat and body fat distribution include measurements of skin fold thickness and waist circumference, calculation of waist-to-hip circumference ratios, and techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging (www.cdc.gov/obesity/defining.html). These measurements are the same regardless of race or ethnicity. One example listed below: Height | Weight Range | BMI | Considered | 5' 9" | 124 lbs or less | Below 18.5 | Underweight | | 125 lbs to 168 lbs | 18.5 to 24.9 | Healthy weight | | 169 lbs to 202 lbs | 25.0 to 29.9 | Overweight | | 203 lbs or more | 30 or higher | Obese | | | | | Statistics on Obesity among African Americans and other Minorities
While 17 percent of whites fit the criteria for obesity, 27 percent of African Americans and 21 percent of Hispanics are considered obese, and therefore at increased risk for major problem, including diabetes, asthma, hypertension and kidney and heart disease, (although, nearly 300,000 deaths per year are now associated with obesity) (www.cdc.gov/obesity).
People of color living at lower economic levels are even more likely to be obese: nearly 34 percent of African Americans and 25 percent of Hispanics earning less than $10,000 are obese, compared with 19 percents of whites (www.cdc.gov/obesity).
The problem of obesity in communities of color is not limited to African Americans and Hispanics; Although Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are not tracked as closely in obesity issues, it is known that roughly 60 percent of urban Indians are overweight, and that Samoans and Native Hawaiians frequently struggle with obesity and related health complications, particularly after moving to mainland America (www.cdc.gov/obesity).
In 2008, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%; Thirty-two states had prevalence equal to or greater than 25%; eight of these states ( Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of obesity equal to or greater than 30% (www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html).

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)
No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30% 2009 State Obesity Rates | State | % | State | % | State | % | State | % | Alabama | 31.0 | Illinois | 26.5 | Montana | 23.2 | Rhode Island | 24.6 | Alaska | 24.8 | Indiana | 29.5 | Nebraska | 27.2 | South Carolina | 29.4 | Arizona | 25.5 | Iowa | 27.9 | Nevada | 25.8 | South Dakota | 29.6 | Arkansas | 30.5 | Kansas | 28.1 | New Hampshire | 25.7 | Tennessee | 32.3 | California | 24.8 | Kentucky | 31.5 | New Jersey | 23.3 | Texas | 28.7 | Colorado | 18.6 | Louisiana | 33.0 | New Mexico | 25.1 | Utah | 23.5 | Connecticut | 20.6 | Maine | 25.8 | New York | 24.2 | Vermont | 22.8 | Delaware | 27.0 | Maryland | 26.2 | North Carolina | 29.3 | Virginia | 25.0 | Washington DC | 19.7 | Massachusetts | 21.4 | North Dakota | 27.9 | Washington | 26.4 | Florida | 25.2 | Michigan | 29.6 | Ohio | 28.8 | West Virginia | 31.1 | Georgia | 27.2 | Minnesota | 24.6 | Oklahoma | 31.4 | Wisconsin | 28.7 | Hawaii | 22.3 | Mississippi | 34.4 | Oregon | 23.0 | Wyoming | 24.6 | Idaho | 24.5 | Missouri | 30.0 | Pennsylvania | 27.4 | |

Causes of Obesity:
Lack of nutrition and healthier food choices
According to a study published [2001] in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, there are four times more supermarkets in predominately white neighborhoods, compared to predominantly African American neighborhoods.
According to Silja J.A. Talvi (2006), it is often difficult for individuals in poorer communities to make healthy diet choices because in the places they live they have more access to convenience stores rather than supermarkets, where fruits and vegetables are available. In addition, says Talvi (2006) “immigrant groups and Native Americans trying to adapt to mainstream American culture often become obese as they substitute the healthy foods of their cultures for the fast food restaurants and snacks” (www.cdc.gov). In another study presented [2001] by the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital, researchers revealed that black prime time television actually contains 60 percent more food and beverage commercials, and more images of soda and candy than are shown on general prime time television; In addition, 36 percent of commercials during black prime time television, for instance, advertised desserts and sweets, while another 31 percent advertised fast food. Americans must make healthier food choices.
Lack of Exercise The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive/Kid Power Poll of Youth Marketers, found that only one third of Americans believed excess caloric consumption to be the major reason for the Increase in adult obesity levels, compared to 83 percent who blamed a lack of exercise (www.nutraingredients-usa.com). Being inactive is more life-threatening than being overweight or obese, results of one of the first studies to consider body weight and physical activity simultaneously and assess their independent effects on mortality has been found (Senior).
There is a higher prevalence of being overweight among African American and other Minority adults than among their Caucasian counterparts (www.seniorjournal.com). Dr. Bruce Ames, the eminent biochemist and inventor of the Ames test for carcinogen, has made longevity and diet one of his key areas of study. His conclusions show that in order to live longer, individual must maintain a good diet, including amounts of vitamins and antioxidants; to ward off obesity, proper diet and exercise are necessary (www.nutraingrediants.com-usa).
Lack of Knowledge A lack of education about a healthy and balanced diet was underlined by the fact that 36 percent of those questioned thought that eating the wrong type of food was the primary cause of obesity in African Americans as well as other minorities, opposed to causation children and adults (World Village 2006).“We know that people consume more and more calories but only a third of the public see or even think about this as a major cause of obesity; This data suggest that many people are either in denial, have the lack of knowledge of, or they are woefully ignorant, and that most people just eat too much,” said Humphrey Taylor, chair man of The Harris Poll at Harris Interactive (world village 2006).
According to Althia Gauthier, the care coordinator for the Tulane Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health in New Orleans standpoint, it is imperative to educate and encourage all Americans to keep trying to eat well and to get enough exercise, because the alternative is to join the ranks of a larger statistical trend of obesity- and related, chronic health conditions- now commonplace across the United States, most acutely in communities of African Americans (Harley, G., 2006).
In short, people are eating themselves to death. While consequences are dire for each obese individual, what many don’t realize is that their choices also harm the part of America that remains healthy (www.cdc.gov) .
Emotional and Psychological Problems
“A lot of the reasons why people overeat or are obese are related to something deeper inside” says Roger Kiowa of the Native Wellness Institute, firmly; “Much of it is related to how much power we see ourselves as having and part of where we are as a physical nation is directly related to our own acculturation, stress, and the problem we’ve had adapting to a society that we’re not very comfortable with “So many of the problems in terms of obesity are related to pain and historical suffering (Native Americans)” says Roger (World Village, 2006).
In the African American community, celebrities including Oprah, Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, India Arie, and Star Jones have played a part in helping many women of color to feel good about the way they look and feel proud of their won generous curves (World Village, 2006).
According to Women Today magazine, it has been estimated that as much as 75 percent of overeating is attributed to the emotions. In order to deal with these uncomfortable feelings, people may turn to food in an effort to cheer up. The problem is that the food can lead to weight gain, which can lead to further depression and obesity (World Village, 2006). TABLE 1. Prevalence* of obesity† among adults, by black/white race or Hispanic ethnicity, census region,§ and sex --- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys, United States, 2006−2008 | Census region | White, non-Hispanic (n = 900,629) | Black, non-Hispanic (n = 84,838) | Hispanic (n = 63,825) | | % | (95% CI¶) | % | (95% CI) | % | (95% CI) | Overall | | | | | | | Both sexes | 23.7 | (23.5--23.9) | 35.7 | (35.0--36.3) | 28.7 | (28.0--29.5) | Men | 25.4 | (25.1--25.7) | 31.6 | (30.6--32.7) | 27.8 | (26.7--28.9) | Women | 21.8 | (21.6--22.1) | 39.2 | (38.5--40.0) | 29.4 | (28.5--30.3) | Northeast | | | | | | | Both sexes | 22.6 | (22.2--23.0) | 31.7 | (30.0--33.4) | 26.6 | (25.0--28.3) | Men | 25.0 | (24.4--25.6) | 26.5 | (24.0--29.1) | 26.9 | (24.3--29.6) | Women | 20.0 | (19.6--20.5) | 36.1 | (34.0--38.3) | 26.0 | (24.1--28.0) |
In conclusion, obesity has become an epidemic in African Americans and other Minorities communities within the United States. The best way to help mitigate the onslaught of obesity is to make sure that individuals are aware and knowledgeable of the consequences of their behavior. Lack of nutritional choices, lack of exercise, and lack of knowledge of obesity will lead to emotional as well as psychological problems. Below I have included tables on the prevalence of obesity among black, white, and Hispanic adults in the United States from 2006-2008 (www.cdc.gov/mmwr).…...

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