African American Obesity
Given the worldwide obesity epidemic that appears to be affecting most ethnic groups, there is an appreciation that the causes of obesity among African American families and others must lie in the fundamental aspects of the food supply. In my opinion, African Americans in the United Sates are more likely to be obese because there is a large number of low-income families’ and many are uninsured.
With respect to children, there is relatively consistent, but not definitive support for prioritizing the systematic implementation and evaluation of child-focused interventions in pre-school and school settings and outside of school time. For adults or all ages, developing and refining e-health approaches and faith-based or other culturally and contextually relevant approaches, including translation of the Diabetes Prevention Program intervention to community settings is indicated. Major evidence gaps were identified with respect to interventions with black men and boys, ways to increase participation and retention of black adults in lifestyle behaviour change programmes, and studies of the impact of environmental and policy changes on eating and physical activity in black communities. Bold steps related to research funding priorities, research infrastructure and methodological guidelines are recommended to improve the quantity and quality of research in this domain.
Interestingly, a study conducted by Lee and Arslanian showed significant difference in fat oxidation rates between African and CA girls, but not between African and CA boys in response to the multistage graded treadmill task. Thus AA women may be at highest risk for reasons above and beyond their level of activity (Willig AL, Hunter GR, 2011).
In addition, if one combines those circumstances with disparities in access to affordable and healthy food or safe places to be physically active, the picture of obesity in the African-American community begins to take shape.
Kuo HK, Yen CJ, Chen JH, Yu YH, Bean JF. Association of cardiorespiratory fitness and levels of C-reactive protein: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2002. International Journal of Cardiology. 2007;
Naidoo T, Konkol K, Biccard B, Dudose K, McKune AJ. Elevated salivary C-reactive protein predicted by low cardio-respiratory fitness and being overweight in African children. Cardiovascular Journal of Africa. 2012;23(9):501–506.
Brown RV, Kral BG, Yanek LR, et al. Ethnic-specific determinants of exercise capacity in a healthy high-risk population. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 2012;
Willig AL, Hunter GR, Casazza K, Heimburger DC, Beasley TM, Fernandez JR. Body fat and racial genetic admixture are associated with aerobic fitness levels in a multiethnic pediatric population. Obesity. 2011