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Obesity in African Americans
Body Composition and Weight Loss Habits of Obese Afro-Americans
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Obesity in Inner City African Americans

Weight Loss Study Aim
Obesity, a risk factor for chronic diseases, has a high prevalence in African Americans and low-income individuals. However, little is known about perceptions of overweight, attempts to lose weight, and strategies used to lose weight among African Americans in inner cities.

Weight Loss Study Results
Obesity was common (44 percent) in this sample of inner-city African Americans. The obese perceived themselves as overweight (70 percent) and were trying to lose weight (66 percent). The majority of the obese (68 percent) were both dieting and exercising to lose weight. Smoking prevalence was not higher among the obese or those trying to lose weight. Many of the obese had received medical advice recently on low-fat diets (51 percent) and had been advised to lose weight (40 percent). Factors independently associated with perception, attempts to lose weight and medical advice differed, but included degree of obesity.

Weight Loss Study Conclusions
These results corroborate US national data that obesity is a public health problem in this population and that obese inner-city African Americans perceive themselves as overweight and are trying to lose weight, especially as degree of obesity increases. It also appears that smoking is not being used as a weight loss strategy and that the obese, as a group, are receiving some medical advice on low-fat diets. This information is critical for designing culturally sensitive weight-control programmes.

Source: Arfken CL, Houston CA. Center for Health Behavior Research, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63108, USA.

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