Studies Address Health Disparities Related to Obesity, Cancer Survival of Blacks
Two studies recently released discuss health disparities among blacks related to obesity and childhood cancer. Summaries appear below.
- "The Racial Disparity Gap in Pediatric Leukemia and Lymphoma Survival Has Been Eliminated in Children but not in Older Adolescents and Young Adults," American Society of Hematology: While survival rates for those with leukemia and lymphoma have gradually improved for all age groups from zero to 29, there are racial disparities in survival rates between racial groups, according to a report released last week at the 48th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. For the report, researchers examined national survey data to identify trends in survival differences between whites and blacks with leukemia and lymphoma that were related to their age at time of diagnosis. According to the report, survival rates for blacks were progressively worse than those for whites among patients between the ages of 20 and 29, though rates were comparable for patients between ages 10 and 19. By 2000, the projected survival deficit between blacks and whites in the 20-29 age group was 20% to 25% among acute myelogenous leukemia patients and 5% to 10% percent for other leukemia and lymphoma cases (American Society of Hematology release, 12/11).
- "Satisfied or Unaware? Racial Differences in Perceived Weight Status," International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity: Despite a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity among blacks than in the general population, there is less pressure in the black community for people to lose weight in part because of cultural acceptance of higher body weights, according to study author Gary Bennett of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Center for Community-Based Research and Harvard School of Public Health (United Press International, 12/6). For the report, Bennett and colleagues analyzed data on 6,552 overweight and obese men and women who participated in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey between 1999 and 2002. Researchers analyzed the data based on height, weight, body mass index, whether participants had received a diagnosis of being overweight from a physician, and responses to the question: "Do you consider yourself now to be overweight, underweight or about the right weight?" All answers of "about the right weight" were categorized as "inaccurate" or a "misperception" because all participants were considered overweight or obese based on standard health guidelines. Overall, overweight blacks were twice as likely as whites to have inaccurate perceptions of their body weight, and obese blacks were even more likely to have misperceptions, the study found (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute release, 12/5).