African Americans at Greater Risk for Obesity and Heart Attack - My Bariatric Life

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • Causes of Obesity Among African Americans

    Obesity is more prevalent among African Americans than among any other ethnic group. Slightly more than 60% of African American males are overweight as are 78% of African American women. Black women lead the population in obesity.


    The African American culture is more accepting of larger body size and feel less guilty about overeating. They are also less inclined to diet. In addition, many black communities have limited food choices, and fatty foods high in sodium are too common. African American families also tend not to focus on nutrition as a priority.

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    The overall rate of obesity among adult black non-Hispanics has been estimated at 35.7%. The South had the highest ratio of obesity among non-Hispanic blacks at 36.9% and was followed by the Midwest at 36.3%. 

    Other Causes of Obesity Among African Americans

    The Centers for Disease Control and Development cites some causes for obesity among the African American population that has some support from research evidence.

    In addition to the explanations above, it is thought that racial and ethnic groups simply have different lifestyle behaviors that influence weight gain. The cultural norms are distinct in many ways.

    Black people and Hispanics are also less likely to exercise in their leisure time than are non-Hispanic white people. There is also evidence suggesting that minority groups often live in neighborhoods where exercise locations are less available ad where traffic concerns and fear for personal safety discourage walking as a form of exercise.

    Obesity Among African American Women

    Four out of five African American women are overweight according to the United States Office of Minority Health. A full half of African American women meet the criteria for obesity as opposed to 30% of white women. Black women also begin gaining extra weight years before white women do.

    These additional pounds increase the risk for illnesses such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

    The number one cause of death among African American women is cardiovascular disease although only 41% of black women believed they are well-informed about  heart disease.


    Heart Disease Among African Americans

    African Americans have a 30% greater chance of dying from heart disease than do Caucasian Americans. Part of the reason for this disparity could be that black people are less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than are white people.


    It has also been found that African Americans are slightly less likely to receive an aspirin or beta-blocker upon arrival at a hospital when they report symptoms of a heart attack. They are also less likely to treceive an aspirin upon discharge.

    A report issued by the Centers For Disease Control and Development that 48.7 of African Americans had two or more risk factors for heart disease compared to 35.5% of Caucasian Americans. Such risk factors include a diagnosis of diabetes, smoking habits, sedentary lifestyles, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

  • References:

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code: - - accessed 8/14/12 - - accessed 8/14/12
    Kaiser Health News - - accessed 8/14/12
    Medical News Today - - accessed 8/14/12
    MUSC Health - - accessed 8/14/12

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    My Story... 

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003, and since that time my journey from processed food junkie to healthy living so as to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management. Whether you are planning or have had bariatric surgery, or you want to lose weight through non-surgical means, my shareposts along the way will help you to navigate your journey successfully.


Published On: September 10, 2012