Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blacks form biggest obese group in US

Nearly 36%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% of Hispanics and 24% of whites are obese, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Overall, about 26% of US adults are obese. Racial differences in obesity rates have been reported before, and health officials were not surprised to see the new figures. 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 low incomes often have less access to medical care, exercise facilities and more expensive, healthier food. 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.

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