Monday, July 20, 2009

Blacks Have Highest Obesity Rate, Whites Lowest, CDC Says

“Blacks were 51 percent more likely and Hispanics were 21 percent more likely to be obese than whites, a disparity that may be linked to cultural attitudes, income and education levels, a U.S. government study found. Thirty percent or more of blacks in 40 states met standards for obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In Alabama, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio and Oregon, 40 percent or more of blacks were obese. The prevalence of obesity, a major cause of diabetes, stroke and heart attacks has more than doubled in the past 30 years in the U.S. Certain ethnic groups have been disproportionately affected, said David Katz, the founder of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut. Members of those groups are less likely to live in neighborhoods with fresh produce and streets that are conducive to walking, he said. “As public health people focused on obesity, we have to ask ourselves, do we look at the disparities in obesity as the icing on the cake, and try to get at the cake?” said Katz, who wasn’t an author on the CDC report, in a telephone interview today. “The differences in education, income, empowerment, resources and community need to be fixed, and it’s not going to happen fast.”

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