Minorities, Those With Low Socioeconomic Status Make Up Disproportionate Share of Overweight, Obese in U.S., Study Says
The rate of obesity in the U.S. increased from 13% to 32% of the population between the 1960s and 2004, and minorities and those in low socioeconomic status groups make up a disproportionate number of those affected, according to a study published in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, United Press International reports (United Press International, 7/11).
For the study, May Beydoun, a postdoctoral fellow in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of International Health, and colleagues analyzed 20 journal papers, reports and online data sets to examine rates of obesity across different groups. They also used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, and the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health. The study said that by 2015, 75% of adults will be overweight and 41% will be obese.
Among minorities, the study found that:
- Non-Hispanic black women and children; Mexican-American women and children; black men with low socioeconomic status; American Indians; and Pacific Islanders were more likely than others to be overweight;
- 80% of black women ages 40 and over were overweight, while 50% were considered obese;
- Asians were less likely to be obese than other groups; however, those born in the U.S. were four times more likely to be obese than foreign-born Asians; and
- Black and Mexican children and adolescents are more likely to be overweight than white children.
Beydoun said, "Our analysis showed patterns of obesity or overweight for various groups of Americans. All groups consistently increased in obesity or overweight prevalence, but the increase varied by group, making this public health issue complex." She added, "More research needs to be completed to look into the underlying causes. Obesity is likely to continue to increase, and if nothing is done, it will soon become the leading preventable cause of death in the United States" (JHSPH release, 7/10).
An abstract of the study is available online. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.